BSF Executive Meeting Report: 22 August 2018

Mon 27 Aug 2018

The BSF Executive held its latest monthly conference call meeting on the evening of Wednesday 22 August 2018.  Below is a journalistic account of discussions and decisions.


Attendance

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

Apologies:  Stella Ackrell (Administrator), Steve Getraer (General Officer).

Guest:  Bob Fromer (BSUK).


Insurance

The BSF is currently conducting the annual review of its insurance provision, and updating information for its insurance provider.  For next year, BASU will be asked if they want to take out the medical insurance currently available to teams.

Two claims were made in the BSF’s last financial year for car windscreens broken by foul balls at the 2017 Softball World Series Tournament: one was handled quickly by the insurers, with a payout made, but the other dragged on for months and eventually went to Small Claims Court.  The insurance company’s response has been to impose a £250 excess on this type of claim, which in most cases is more than the cost of replacing a windscreen; so effectively, the insurer will not consider such claims.

The BSF Executive has decided that if such claims arise from local tournaments, the BSF will settle them rather than the costs falling on tournament organisers; but were there to be many such claims, it would inevitably have an effect on team fees.


Finances

With just over a month to go to the end of the BSF’s financial year, Treasurer Laura Burkhardt submitted interim accounts to the meeting, showing income and expenditure to date.

While income should be broadly as expected, the BSF faces the risk of again underspending against its projections, particularly in the area of slowpitch development projects and general development grants.  On the other hand, there will be additional expenditure to enhance the upcoming NSL Nationals, and overall, the underspend will be less than in previous years.

“We have certainly carried out planned expenditure in some of the areas we projected,” Jenny Fromer told the meeting, “and we will look at other spending possibilities.”

One area for spending some of the disposable reserves the BSF has built up over the past few years will be the re-design of the BSF website, though this expenditure will fall primarily in the next financial year.  The BSF also intends to produce a promotional video for slowpitch softball and may look to acquire its own webstreaming capability.

Finally, the BSF considered a request from GB Under-13 Manager Julie Spittle for a grant to buy training equipment for the squad.  While the BSF is sympathetic to the request, and will support it if necessary, the feeling was that it should be met, if possible, by the GB Management Committee (GBMC), which maintains a fund for these types of national team expenditure.


Tournaments and National Championships

NSL Nationals.  Competitions Director Liz Graham reported on final arrangements for the NSL Nationals, to be played at Farnham Park on the weekend of 1-2 September.

Both the NSL 2 and NSL 1 finals will be played on Pitch 1 and webstreamed in conjunction with BaseballSoftballUK.  Time slots at the Nationals will be 75 minutes, with no new inning after 60 minutes.  The NSL 1 and NSL 2 finals will be seven innings (but subject to the mercy rule).

The BSF has decided to purchase promotional banners to post on the outfield fences on Pitch 1, where they will be seen by the webstream cameras.

Softball World Series.  Plans for the Softball World Series, to be played on the weekend of 8-9 September at the Imperial College Heston Venue (formerly the BA Concorde Club) in Cranford, were discussed.

While most arrangements for the tournament are in hand, there is still a need for someone to drive a minibus over the weekend to transport overseas teams from their hotel to the field, and a need for one or two more people to help set up outfield fences on the afternoon of Friday 6 September.  Fees will be paid, and anyone interested should email bob.fromer@bsuk.com.

This year, for the first time, the World Series will feature five National Slowpitch Teams from Europe.

NSL 3.  Because of the growing number of teams hoping to play within the National Softball League structure, the BSF is running an “NSL 3” competition this year at the NSL National Championships.  Eight teams have signed up to compete, and the teams finishing in the top two places will be given places in NSL 2 league play next year.  Teams finishing third and fourth will be guaranteed a place in the 2019 NSL 3 tournament.

In 2019, the BSF may expand the NSL 3 tournament to 10 teams if enough pitches can be booked at Farnham Park, and this would mean guaranteed places next year for the teams finishing fifth and sixth this year.  During its annual face-to-face meeting in October, the Executive will consider a proposal to create an NSL 3 league structure in 2020.


Motions to the ESF Congress

The Executive has agreed to submit two motions to the Competitions Commission at the 2019 European Softball Federation Congress.  Though the Congress will be held next February, the motions will need to be submitted in November.

The first motion concerns the current practice at the ESF Congress of determining the composition of first-round pools at major European Championships by arranging the teams in tiers based on seeding, but then drawing names out of hats to determine the pools that teams are assigned to.  The BSF feels that this distorts the seedings that countries have earned at the previous edition of the competition.  Since the draw is done mainly for the sense of excitement it creates at the Congress (there is no outside or media interest), the BSF will propose that the practice cease.

The second motion concerns the fact that the ESF, following the lead of the WBSC, has eliminated the Page Playoff as the way to determine medals at many (though not all) of its tournaments), instead simply staging bronze medal and gold medal games based on rankings in final playoff round-robins.  The BSF believes that the rewards and opportunities presented by the Page Playoff are a better way to end tournaments, and its motion will ask for their reinstatement.


GDPR advice

The BSF is still working with BaseballSoftballUK to produce specific guidelines for BSF members on the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) that came into force earlier this year.


BSUK Board and Committees

Reports from BSUK Board and Committee meetings attended by BSF representatives are a standing item at BSF Executive meetings.

On this occasion, Jenny Fromer reported that the BSUK Board has now appointed a new Chair, Lara Lill, and a new Independent Board Director, Judith Tacon.

The BSF Executive will send best wishes to BSUK CEO John Boyd, who recently sustained some fairly serious injuries after a fall, though he is expected to make a full recovery.


Upcoming meetings

The next BSF Executive conference call meeting will be on Thursday 13 September.

Anyone with items to raise at the meeting should contact BSF Administrator Stella Ackrell (stella.ackrell@britishhsoftball.org).

The Executive will hold its annual face-to-face weekend meeting on 13-14 October in London.

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