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27/04/2024

ECF Finance Council Meeting 2024

 

The annual finance meeting was held by Zoom on Saturday 27/04/2024.  The writer attended as Doncaster Congress delegate, holding 2 votes on the basis of the number of rating results submitted in the qualifying 12-month period.  The only other participant from Yorkshire seemed to be Hull’s Stephen Greep who attended as an ECF Non-Executive Director.  No delegate from the YCA which also holds 2 votes was evident, and the voting register did not record the appointment of a YCA proxy nor of voting directions being sent for the chair, which is another option.

 

After the initial usually routine items including approval of minutes had passed, it came to the Finance Director’s report which was approved.  That brought us on the agenda to the budget for 2024-25.  Bad ordering of the agenda required putting that on hold and fast-forward to items 10 and 12.

 

Item 10 consisted of amendments to the Articles and Bye-Laws providing for “rolling” membership which were passed nem con, meaning membership is no longer from September to August irrespective of when you take out membership, but now runs for 12 months from when membership is taken out.

 

Item 12 was the Board proposal on what individual (“Direct”) membership fees would be for 2024-25.  There was still resistance to the idea of merging Silver and Gold categories.  Amendments to the Board’s proposals were taken but only one was passed.  To vote down the Board proposals, even as amended, was possible, but according to the Chair of the Governance Committee would precipitate a “constitutional crisis”, though in reality further proposals from the floor (like “same as last season but with £2 added to each fee”) would resolve the erroneously perceived potential problem.

 

A proposed amendment to reinstate Junior Bronze membership as free for the first year and thereafter £6 per annum was passed.  The reasoning was based on the idea that many juniors remain content with club and league chess and don’t want to branch out into congresses, and that parents funding three such offspring could find it a problem.  Others seemed to believe most juniors are straining at the leash to dive headlong into congress chess (which requires Silver/Gold membership).  Experiences and contexts vary.  The writer supported this amendment.

 

A proposed amendment (supported by the writer) was to hold adult Bronze membership at £18, though that was massively defeated.

 

The fees for 2024-25, which due to above mentioned changes may kick in from 1st of July 2024 if the Board so wishes, are thus as below:

 

2023-24

2024-25

Category

Price

Category

Price

Bronze

£18

Bronze

£20

Silver *

£27

abolished *

Gold

£39

Gold

£35

Platinum

£75

Platinum

£77

Supporter

£10

Supporter

£12

Junior Bronze

suspended

Junior Bronze

£6 **

Junior Silver

£6

abolished *

Junior Gold

£19.50

Junior Gold

£12

Junior Platinum

£75

Junior Platinum

£77

* The ECF Board describes the process as merger of Silver and Gold categories.

** Free in the first year

 

Rating-Related Fees

2023‑24

2023‑25

FIDE-rated pay-to-play

£12

N/A

Congress pay-to-play fee

£9

£15

Congress pay-to-play, junior

£2.50

£3.00

FIDE admin fee – players who are of

non-ENG federation and not gold members

£1.50

£1.50

Non-members game fee

£18

£20

Non-members game fee, junior

£6

£12

 

The budget for 2024-25, was then approved.

 

A report from the Chair of the Finance Committee (independent of the Board) was received.  Nothing not predictable.

 

A report on the Use of the Government Grant was then given by Malcolm Pein who was behind the whole project.  This was an excellent presentation on some excellent work behind the scenes.  The presentation was “shared” over Zoom, but seems not to have been made generally available (yet).  The writer was able to capture some screen shots which were as follows.

A close-up of a document

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It will be noted that Barnsley, Bradford, Doncaster, Hull, “Rother” (does he mean Rotherham?), Calderdale and Sheffield are among the places listed.  It is not clear whether these are past grants which have been offered in the past (but possibly not taken up – see here on government website – or whether this refers to a new trench of grants.

 

A paper with text on it

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A collage of people in formal attire

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(“Dominic” refers to ECF President Dominic Lawson.)

 

A close-up of a document

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The recent “norm tournament” organised by Jonathan Arnott in Sheffield was apparently a beneficiary under that heading.

 

It should be understood the above money for 2024-25 is timebound.  If it is not spent in time, then it will be lost.

 

There was a government press release dated 28/08/2023 which may be read here.

 

 

A paper on Grassroot Initiatives was then then presented by Nigel Towers.  This represents proposed utilisation of £140,000 which the ECF already possesses, and so is not timebound as regards its spending.  This arises from the fact that due to considerations of timing, some of one government grant was allowed to be backdated into 2023-24, and £140,000 of the international budget for 2023-24 was thus not used up due to the Government funding coming along.  To simply use the “saved” money on keeping membership fees artificially lower than they would otherwise be would not be in the spirit of the government funding, hence this “Grassroots” initiative.  A method for applying for such funds, probably web-based, has yet to be addressed fully, and that is something the ECF will be working on.  The paper can be read here.

 

All the above opportunities to “grow” chess do of course require people on the ground with the necessary enthusiasm and ability to push them forward.  It makes one quite tired just thinking about it!

 

A proposal to abolish Organisation Membership fees and admit (initially large) clubs as members by amending the Articles appropriately was passed.  The relevant paper may be seen here.

 

Unusually, it was not necessary to consider a motion to extend the meeting beyond the prescribed 17.30.  The meeting was closed at 17.25.

 

 

Steve Mann

27/04/2024