BSF Executive Meeting Report: 11 January 2018

Thu 18 Jan 2018

The BSF Executive held its first conference call meeting of 2018 on the evening of Thursday 11 January.  Below is a journalistic report on the highlights of discussions and decisions.


Present:  Jenny Fromer (President), Laura Burkhardt (Treasurer), Liz Graham (Competitions Director), Jana McCaskill (National Teams Officer), Mike Jennings (General Officer), Steve Getraer (General Officer), Chris Moon (BASU Representative).

Apologies:  Stella Ackrell (Administrator).

Guest:  Bob Fromer (BSUK).


BSF Treasurer Laura Burkhardt circulated the latest version of the Federation’s 2016-17 accounts to the meeting.  These are almost complete and ready to go to the auditor.

The accounts confirm that the BSF had planned to make a loss on the year but instead had made a profit, due to underspending in some areas of the budget.  This has increased the BSF’s reserves and made additional money available for spending in the current financial year.  At its next conference call, prior to the BSF AGM on 24 February, the Executive will discuss how this surplus can best be used, and will include its ideas in the budget proposal it brings to the AGM.

Areas in which spending is likely to be increased include enhancement of National Championships, safety and training, development and increased support for British teams playing in official tournaments overseas.

In light of the budget surplus from 2016-17, the BSF will not increase team fees for the 2018 season, but a modest increase will be necessary for 2019 to keep up with inflation.  Notice of this planned increase will be given at the AGM.

Softball World Series

The BSF is now solely responsible for the annual Softball World Series tournament, which will celebrate its 20th year in 2018, though BSUK still provides organisational support.

The BSF is keen that the World Series remains true to its original concept of a competition involving teams from different countries or regions of the UK, Europe and the world, and is introducing new regulations for 2018 to ensure that teams are composed primarily of players with passports or meaningful connections to the country or region their team represents.

A committee of people will be needed to run the tournament on the weekend of 8-9 September, including set-up on Friday 7 September, and the BSF is looking for volunteers.

National Championships

BSF Competitions Director Liz Graham told the meeting that grass fields will be available at Farnham Park on the weekend of 1-2 September, which means that the BSF can run an NSL qualifying tournament on that weekend alongside the Premier and NSL 2 National Championships.

Because a significant number of teams have expressed an interest in getting into the NSL structure by joining NSL 2, the BSF will run a qualifying tournament at the end of the season for the next couple of years, alongside the NSL Nationals, with the top two teams from this tournament replacing the bottom two teams in the NSL 2 league standings.

If demand continues, an NSL 3 league might eventually be created, with its own league schedule played at tournaments across the season.

National Teams

BSF National Teams Officer Jana McCaskill told the meeting that the GB Slowpitch programme had submitted a late entry to the European Men’s Slowpitch Championship, which will be played for the first time in 2018 from 12-16 June in the Czech Republic.  This brings the total number of entries to nine countries. 

If all or most of those entries remain in place after 1 March – the deadline for countries to withdraw without penalty -- this will be an encouraging start to a new European slowpitch competition.

There had been some concern on the part of the BSF that introducing this new Men’s Slowpitch Championship might reduce entries to the European Co-ed Slowpitch Super Cup, which will also be played in 2018.  But a record number of 17 teams – including three from the UK – have entered the Super Cup, so it appears that the appetite for slowpitch competition is on the rise in Europe.

If the European Men’s Slowpitch Championship proves to be a success, it will give the GB Slowpitch programme two competitions each year, with the European Co-ed and Men’s Championships in alternate years alongside the annual Slowpitch World Cup in Florida.

The GB Slowpitch programme is now sending a representative – Team Manager Kellie Whitaker – to meetings of the GB Management Committee, and the question of how to prioritise these competitions will be discussed.

Support for British club teams in Europe

The Executive discussed a request to provide more support for British teams playing in European Cup competitions.  This year, a record number of British teams will be travelling to Europe for these tournaments, including three slowpitch teams to the European Slowpitch Super Cup, two women’s fastpitch teams to European Women’s Cup competitions and a Meteors team from the Great Britain Fastpitch League to the European Men’s Fastpitch Super Cup.

For more information on a record-breaking year for British national and club teams playing abroad, see this story on the BSF website.  []

The BSF already pays half the entry fee for clubs playing in European Cup tournaments, as well as sharing the costs that the ESF levies for umpire travel with BASU.  Now the Executive is considering the possibility of also covering an extra charge of 100 euros that is levied on teams to provide support for tournament organisers.  A decision on this will be announced at the BSF AGM.


The BSF Executive is planning to review its website provision during the early part of this year to see if improvements can be made.

Suggestions from the softball community are welcome.

2018 BSF AGM

The BSF will publish its 2018 AGM Pack by 4 February, with the AGM itself scheduled for Saturday 24 February in Manchester.

The Executive is still deciding whether to run any workshops or seminars on the day, but the AGM agenda will almost certainly include the following topics alongside statutory items such as reports, setting fees and election of officers:

  • New Articles of Association to reflect changes made to comply with national governance requirements.
  • A review of BSF safety and safeguarding policies and guidance.
  • National Teams, including information on the role of the GB Management Committee.
  • National Championships.
  • BaseballSoftballUK development initiatives.
  • Insurance.
  • Equipment, including a new grade of ball for women’s play.

The AGM will also feature a ceremony to present the BSF’s annual awards and induct new members into the Hall of Fame.

BSUK Committee meetings

Members of the BSF Executive attend meetings of the BaseballSoftballUK Board and its various Committees, and reports from these meetings are a standing item on the agenda at BSF Executive meetings.

In this case, the only relevant meeting was the BaseballSoftballUK AGM on 10 December, attended by both Jenny Fromer and Mike Jennings.  Three new members were appointed to the Board at this meeting, but all were men – so to fulfil governance requirements, BSUK will need to appoint women to its remaining vacancies.

Next meeting

The next BSF Executive conference call meeting will be held on Thursday 8 February.

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