Busy day of meetings at the 2020 BSF AGM

Tue 3 Mar 2020

There was a full day of meetings at the 2020 British Softball Federation AGM, held on Saturday 29 February in Manchester, with a League Heads Forum in the morning, a session on NSL rules and regulations at lunchtime and the formal AGM in the afternoon.

This was followed by a meeting of the BSF Executive in the early evening.

Below is a report on the AGM, including the BSF’s annual awards for the 2019 season, followed by brief reports on the League Heads Forum and the NSL Workshop.  A separate report on the BSF Executive meeting that followed the AGM can be found in the news column on this website.

Around 15 people representing 11 leagues attended the League Heads Forum; around 20 people from 10 NSL teams attended the NSL Workshop session; and 66 people representing around 50 different teams signed in for the AGM.


2020 BSF AGM

BSF President Jenny Fromer opened the AGM by mentioning a number of intentions cited in the Minutes from the 2019 AGM that the Executive had not yet carried out but was still planning to do:

  • Publish figures on the difference between what the Federation pays to support National Team players in overseas competitions and what players and/or their families pay.
     
  • Survey slowpitch teams that win their league or a league division and then don’t enter the League Nationals to find out why.
     
  • Look into holding National Co-ed Slowpitch Championships on occasion at locations other than Farnham Park.
     
  • Develop a single set of rules for Indoor Play.

Jenny also reminded the meeting that BSF Development Grants are available for leagues or teams that want to carry out development projects, and that BSUK can often provide help and support for such projects.

The Minutes from the 2019 BSF AGM were approved.


Executive and National Team reports

Reports from members of the BSF Executive, and a report on national team activities and outcomes in 2019, were published in the 2020 BSF AGM Pack.  No questions were raised on these reports.

Jenny Fromer told the meeting that current members of the BSF Executive were all serving the second year of a two-year term and were all re-standing, but that she would be standing down as BSF President at the 2021 AGM and other Officers might be standing down as well.

So the BSF will need people willing to get involved with the sport on a national level -- and if people come forward soon, they will be able to shadow current Officers during 2020 and be more prepared to step into roles in 2021.


Safeguarding and safety session

The next section of the AGM was given over to a short presentation on safeguarding and safety by BaseballSoftballUK Finance and Governance Officer Mark Caress, who leads for the organisation on safeguarding.

Mark described new safeguarding requirements that have come into force over the past couple of years for youth teams and for adult teams with youth players (i.e., teams with three or more players under the age of 18) to bring softball in line with other sports and with practice recommended by the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU).

Such teams must have at least one coach who has undergone safeguarding training, up-to-date DBS checks for all coaches and a nominated Safeguarding Officer – though in some cases, a League Safeguarding Officer can fill this role across a number of teams.

Mark pointed out that BaseballSoftballUK can offer support with all these requirements: DBS checks can be done through BSUK for free and safeguarding training – which now must be face-to-face rather than just online -- can be provided.  These requirements, he noted, are not just to protect children involved in the sport, but to protect the responsible adults as well.

A qualification from a safeguarding course lasts for three years and is valid across all sports.  After three years, refresher courses can be taken.

“None of this is scary,” Mark told the meeting, “and BSUK is here to help.  But safeguarding is something we have to do -- and do well.”

A large amount of information on safeguarding is available on the BSUK website here.

The Safeguarding section on the BSUK website also contains a template Risk Assessment Form, and Mark suggested that leagues and teams should carry out risk assessments for tournaments and league competition as a matter of common sense – and for defense if anything goes wrong.

All incidents involving injuries during softball play need to be reported, and there are Incident Report Forms on both the BSUK and BSF websites for doing so.  These can be completed online or downloaded and submitted as a hard copy.

At the end of this session, a question was raised about the minimum age for a youth player to play on an adult team.  Jenny Fromer told the meeting that the BSF does not have a minimum age regulation, but believes the key is a careful assessment by team coaches – not just by a parent – as to whether the young player is capable, both physically, emotionally and socially, of taking part at the level of adult competition being considered.


Financial report

BSF Treasurer Laura Burkhardt gave a brief report on BSF spending in 2018-19 and the proposed budget for 2019-20.

With healthy reserves, the BSF budgeted for a deficit of about £11,000 in 2018-19, but in fact wound up more or less breaking even due to underspends in a couple of key areas.  One of the main areas of underspend was the BSF contribution to salary and costs for the BSUK/BSF Fastpitch Development Manager, since the current post-holder, Alyson Spinas-Valainis, was hired later than planned.

With reserves now standing at £55,000 (£40,000 is what the BSF hopes to maintain), the 2019-20 budget projects a deficit of just under £20,000.  Major areas of increased spending this year will be website re-development, web-streaming from BSF events, increased insurance costs and the costs incurred in attending the recent biennial WBSC Congress in Japan.

There was unanimous approval for the 2019-20 budget as proposed.


Affiliation fees

The meeting was told that affiliation fees will remain the same in 2020 as in 2019, and should be unchanged in 2021. 

Any increase in 2022 will be broadly in line with inflation.
 

BaseballSoftballUK session

The next session of the AGM was a presentation by BaseballSoftballUK’s Head of Commercial, Joëlle Watkins, who focused on legacy outcomes expected from the second year of the MLB London Series in 2020 as well as new BSUK initiatives for softball.

“The London Series has been the start of a long-lasting relationship between MLB and BSUK,” Joëlle told the meeting.  BSUK’s main priorities from this relationship are to establish a recognisable and lasting legacy from the Major League games in London, connect the existing playing community to the London Series with priority on involvement by women and girls, and connect with MLB fans to increase participation in British softball and baseball.

In 2019, one of the key outcomes from the London Series and MLB’s involvement was a programme called Fun at Bat that was established in 55 schools in East London, with nearly 500 sessions involving nearly 4000 children.  In 2020, the aim is to involve up to 200 schools across a wider area of London, and eventually to roll out this programme nationwide.

Also in 2019, coach and player development opportunities associated with the London Series were extended to female coaches and athletes, and this will continue in 2020.

Longer-term, Great Britain is one of five countries around the world where MLB will support a significant expansion of baseball and softball between now and 2030, and BSUK will work with MLB to create a Learning Centre concept to help clubs and teams develop, along with secondary school and adult programmes and a residential elite Academy.

With regard to the 2020 London Series games at the London Stadium on 13 and 14 June between the Chicago Cubs and St Louis Cardinals, Joëlle announced that MLB had made 5000 seats available for members of baseball and softball communities and across Europe and, as there were last year, volunteer opportunities associated with the games will be available.

Events associated with the games will include an MLB Coach Development Camp on 23-24 May, an MLB Cadet Camp from 25-28 May, an MLB Elite European Development Tournament for young baseball players from 8-12 June, and potentially an MLB Youth Cup Tournament (all formats) on 5 July, all at Farnham Park.

An MLB Fan Park will be set up in London from 8-12 June, there will be access to the Cubs and Cardinals Workout Day on 12 June and a Watch Party for those people who can’t get tickets for the games on 13 and 14 June at Farnham Park.

Joëlle Watkins told the meeting that BSUK initiatives for the softball community this year will include:

  • A major new co-ed slowpitch tournament, the BSUK Slowpitch Cup, to be played on the weekend of 8-9 May at Farnham Park with Australian “Fully Loaded” rules.
     
  • The second year of the Slowpitch Softball Academy, with two sold-out sessions scheduled for 14 and 21 March at Farnham Park.
     
  • Slowpitch pitching clinics on 8 March in Manchester and 22 March at Farnham Park.
     
  • Fastpitch taster sessions at existing slowpitch tournaments.
     
  • The opportunity for company teams to enter the softball tournament at the UK Corporate Games on 25-26 July in Lancaster.


Questions and statements

Following the BSUK session, two questions were posed from the floor.

One was whether either BSUK or the BSF could play a role in getting the batting cages at Northwick Park in North London up and running again.  The answer is no: the owners have shut down the cages and have no intention of putting in the money that would be required to make them operational.  But BaseballSoftballUK is currently looking into the feasibility of setting up a batting cage operation at Farnham Park.

The second question was about improvements and ongoing maintenance at Farnham Park.  The answer is that BaseballSoftballUK has spent time and money over the winter improving the fields.  Last year a dedicated Facilities Manager was employed and a permanent groundskeeper is about to be hired, so the condition of the fields should be better in future.


Constitutional motion

BSF General Officer Mike Jennings talked the AGM through an amendment that the BSF was proposing to its Articles of Association to better define who can be a Director of BSF Ltd.  The change proposes that there should be a minimum of three and a maximum of five Directors, who shall include the President and Treasurer.  Additional Directors will be appointed by the Executive from its existing members.

This motion was passed unanimously.


Prize draw

The AGM was attended by representatives from Baseball Outlet, who are now BaseballSoftballUK’s Official Supplier of Wearable Kit, and who set up an equipment stall and donated a prize of six team tops and shorts to be awarded to the holder of a winning raffle ticket.

The winner was Charlotte Stuckes from Nottingham Sheriffs.


Elections

As noted above, all members of the BSF Executive in 2019 will serve the second year of their current two-year term in 2020, and there were no additional nominations for any of these positions.

However, Michael Lott offered to stand for the vacant General Officer position of Coaching Officer and was approved unanimously, as was Chris Moon for the position of Technical Officer, a post he has held for some years through nomination by BASU.  From this year forward, however, the Technical Officer will be an elected position.

The BSF Executive for 2020 will be:

President:  Jenny Fromer
Treasurer:  Laura Burkhardt
Competitions Officer:  Liz Graham
National Teams Officer:  Alexis Markham-Hill
Technical Officer:  Chris Moon

General Officer / Farnham Park Liaison:  Steve Getraer
General Officer / Finance:  Mike Jennings
General Officer / Coaching:  Michael Lott
General Officer / National Championship Support:  Lesley Morisetti
General Officer / National Teams Support:  Stella Ackrell

Alan MacFarlane serves as the London Liaison Officer, appointed by the BSF, and Bob Fromer serves the Executive as a part-time paid Administrator.


BSF Awards

The final business of the 2020 BSF AGM was the presentation of BSF’s annual awards for the 2019 season.

Jenny Fromer opened this part of the meeting by noting that two awards to members of the softball community had been presented as part of the Coaching Awards at the BSUK’s annual Coach Summit on 25 January in Milton Keynes.

The award for Softball Youth Coach of the Year went to Paul Archer and the award for Softball Adult Coach of the Year was shared by Rachael Watkeys and Jodie Bull

Full details on why these awards were given can be found here.  

BSF awards are made each year only in categories for which nominations have been received, and the awards for the 2019 season were as follows:


The Glover Cup for long-term and/or distinguished service to British softball was awarded to Kat Macann.

Kat served for several years as Director of the GLSML (now the London Softball League) and she stepped down at the league’s November 2019 AGM leaving a thriving league committee with two new Co-Directors in place, thanks to an efficient process of succession planning.

During her time in office, Kat’s leadership of the league was progressive, collaborative and far-sighted. She was instrumental in trialing the new Inclusive Rules developed by the LGBT Panel that addressed non-binary player inclusion, helped to overhaul league tournaments to enable more even competition, established clear player conduct protocols and led the re-branding of the league and the launch of its new website.  In her relatively short tenure, Kat left a significant and positive mark on the development of the league.


The President’s Team Award for outstanding development work and/or performance by a club or team was awarded to the Windsor Knights, and especially to Lucy Binding and Colin Stone.  Knights’ captain Anna Wareing wrote:

“Lucy and Colin have been leading members of the GB softball community and in particular the Knights for the last 15 years before taking the difficult decision to step down as Knights’ captains and managers after finishing third at the NSL1 Nationals in 2018 to allow them to focus on playing.

“After being a very successful B-grade and league team under Lucy and Colin, winning the B-grade Nationals and multiple league titles, the Windsor Knights made the difficult decision to join NSL1 and move up to A-grade.  Lucy and Colin knew this would be challenging and that it would take time to build a squad that could compete at the highest level, but they were determined to do this.

“Early years in the NSL were developmental ones, with Windsor Knights finishing towards the bottom of NSL1, and wins were treasured.  But steadily, the Knights moved up the table.  During this time Lucy and Colin built the bones of the squad that won the NSL1 Nationals in 2019 by recruiting and developing young, talented players who would go on to star for Great Britain. These players complemented the skill and knowledge of the more experienced Knights and formed the core of the successful Knights team.

“It is testament to Lucy and Colin's passion, knowledge and standing within the game that they attracted this calibre of player to the Knights, mentored and developed them into the players they are today, and retained them as the team moved up the NSL tables.

“Another visionary moment was Lucy recognising a new force in slowpitch Softball and recruiting Max Zerhusen and Wolfgang Walther to play for the Knights, which in turn supported the development of slowpitch softball in Germany.

“Colin and Lucy have been friends, mentors and champions for everyone on the Knights, and we would not have won the Nationals without their careful building of the team, nurturing of players and tactical know-how.  Knitting together a group of talented individual players and building us into a team has not been quick or easy but they have done it with grace and made many lifelong friends along the way.”


The Team Glover Cup was awarded to the GB Women’s Fastpitch Team, and Assistant Coach Liz Knight (shown below) accepted the award on behalf of the team.

In 2019, the GB Women’s Team narrowly missed out on claiming a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  In the Europe/Africa Qualifier in July 2019, they stormed through the tournament, including wins over the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, to take an unbeaten record into the final against Italy.  While the final outcome – an Italian win -- was devastating for the team and its many supporters, it was a magnificent performance to win silver at the Olympic Qualifier and bronze at the earlier European Women’s Championship.

The Youth Team of the Year Award went to the GB Cubs, GB Softball’s Under-13 Girls’ Team.

Though the GB Cubs won the Youth Team of the Year Award at last year’s AGM after coming a best-ever fifth in the competitive Sport Division at the European Massimo Romeo Youth Trophy in 2018, they surpassed that achievement in 2019 by reaching the final, beating Italian and Russian teams for the first time ever along the way.


The Tournament of the Year Award went to the Softball World Series Tournament.

The Softball World Series has been one of the most popular events on the softball calendar for over 20 years, giving players a unique opportunity to play on teams based on nationality.  With the added feature of teams participating from other countries across Europe, it is a complex tournament to run, but has always been superbly organised and has generated a fantastic atmosphere year on year.  In a year that marks the end of its time at the well-loved Imperial College Heston Venue (formerly the BA Concorde Club), it is a fitting time to finally recognise this event.


The Betsy Holden Award for a young person who has made an outstanding contribution to their team or to the promotion of softball was given to GB Cubs player Shinju Phalon.  GB Cubs Team Manager Julie Spittle (shown below collecting the award on Shinju’s behalf), wrote:

“In every practice Shinju attended she worked hard and did her best to improve on her natural ability.  Her sheer dedication and passion for softball at such a young age was amazing to witness and it makes her the great player she is becoming.  She would work with us in training and then go away and work on her own or with her Dad, and we believe doing that has accelerated her development.

“Shinju is always willing to help the team’s coaches and other players.  She was always encouraging her teammates and she very much took on a leadership role within the team.  She is a player who is full of team spirit and works hard at spreading the word about GB Softball to friends and other players.  She truly loves the game.

“Shinju remained positive when injury prevented her playing in the last two games of our 2019 tournament.  She continued to cheer on her teammates and get behind them as they brought home the silver medal.  She was a pleasure to have as an Under-13 player and we wish her the best of luck as she steps up to the next level in the GB Softball programme.”

The Umpire of the Year Award was given for achievements in both fastpitch and slowpitch umpiring.  The fastpitch award went to Jana McCaskill and the slowpitch award to Jason Smith.

Jana McCaskill has been a long-time contributor to British softball, having served as a very active and engaged National Teams Officer and regularly umpiring in the Great Britain Fastpitch League and at London Cup tournaments as well as representing Britain as an umpire at European and World competitions.  In 2019 Jana umpired for the second time at the WBSC Under-19 Women’s World Championship and was given the honour of being the plate umpire at the US v Japan final.

Jason Smith has been a qualified BASU umpire for about 10 years.  He has attended two Advanced Courses and was the first name on the BASU list to attend the ESF Slowpitch Clinic in 2020.  He is also the Umpire-in-Chief for East Midlands Softball League and is very proactive in his support of local umpiring, having introduced a mentoring scheme for newly-qualified umpires in the East Midlands.

Jason has always been willing to travel extensively to umpire at tournaments across the UK, and he is helping to deliver two BASU Qualifying Courses this year with a view to becoming one of BASU’s official trainers next year.
 

Final thought

At the end of the AGM, Roger Grooms from the East Midlands Softball League and independent team H2O requested that the meeting’s disappointment that there will be no Single-Sex Nationals in 2020 be minuted, though the reasons for this were understood.

The 2020 BSF AGM closed on time, just before 4.00 pm.

 

BSF LEAGUE HEADS FORUM

The BSF’s annual League Heads Forum meeting for slowpitch League Heads and Committee members from around the country was the first meeting to be held on the day of the BSF AGM, starting just after 10.00 am.

Representatives from the following leagues attended: Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London (formerly the GLSML), Manchester, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Solent, and Windsor.


Softball calendar

The meeting began with a discussion about the ever-more-crowded softball outdoor calendar, and the question was posed as to whether the BSF should do more to manage the calendar rather than simply compile it. 

This year, with two normal competition weekends taken out by a late Easter in April and by the MLB London Series in June, compiling the calendar on the basis of dates supplied by tournament organisers wound up with no weekend available for the BSF to hold the Single-Sex Slowpitch Nationals, which has been suspended for 2020 but will hopefully resume in 2021.

One suggestion was that the BSF should lock in dates for all its National Championships over a five-year period, with other tournaments having to work around them.

But the issue with some National Championships, particularly the Single-Sex and League Nationals, is that volunteers are needed to help the BSF run them: the Single-Sex Nationals suffered this year not just from lack of a date but also from lack of an organiser.

It is also becoming clear that there are increasing conflicts at the start of the outdoor season between some Firstball tournaments and the Great Britain Fastpitch League, which is forced to schedule most of its dates early in the year before major slowpitch tournaments get under way.

While there was no conclusion about whether the BSF should try to impose more logic on the calendar, there was a call for the developing calendar to be circulated more frequently to tournament organisers during the autumn and winter, before dates are finalised and put on the BSF website Events list.


How can we get more league umpires to umpire nationally?

This is a perennial question, but one that has become more urgent as the number of tournaments increases.

There was a consensus that league umpires and new BASU umpires are often discouraged by hostility from players, and while there are sanctions that can be used against abusive behavior from players, new and inexperienced umpires are often reluctant to apply them. 

In Australia, new umpires are given different and distinctive shirts to wear that advertise their status, and severe penalties are applied to players or teams that have a go at them.  Could this system be adopted by BASU?

Solutions put forward included more and better “buddy systems” for new umpires, more communication from BASU about assessment and mentoring procedures, more BASU Qualification Courses run at league level – and raising per-game fees for umpires.


How can we train more slowpitch coaches?

There was a consensus at the meeting on the need for more trained and qualified slowpitch coaches, and for more player clinics run by qualified coaches.

There needs to be more publicity about the Level 2 qualification course and the short modular courses run by BaseballSoftballUK, and the hope is, now that the BSF has a Coaching Officer (Michael Lott was elected to fill this hitherto vacant position at the AGM), there can be better coordination with BSUK around slowpitch softball needs.

The fact that BSUK’s Slowpitch Academy sessions scheduled for March have been sold out, with up to 60 people scheduled to attend, is another positive sign.


Support for hosting European slowpitch tournaments in the UK

Over the weeks before the AGM, the BSF had been considering whether it might need to bid to host the European Slowpitch Super Cup, with three British teams entered, to prevent the tournament from being cancelled for lack of a host.  The total cost of hosting the tournament would have been close to £20,000 and the BSF was considering adding a one-off levy to team affiliation fees this year to help support the costs.

In the event, Bulgaria will host the tournament and we don’t have to.  But the BSF was keen to find out from League Heads how such a levy might be viewed to determine whether it could bid to host European tournaments in future.  Is the softball community as a whole willing to support this?

Feedback suggested that the community was likely to be more willing to support a European Slowpitch Championship (Co-ed or Men), with GB players coming from all over the country, rather than a European Slowpitch Cup where just two or three NSL teams, probably southern-based, would be involved.

But any call for community support through a fee levy, it was suggested, would need a lot of prior publicity and persuasion.

Another suggestion was that the BSF could add a barely perceptible couple of pounds to team fees each year, ringfence the money, and build up a reserve over several years to help with hosting a European tournament.


Insurance

BSF teams have gotten better at reporting injuries that occur during play through the Incident Report Forms on the BSF and BSUK websites, but BSF General Officer Mike Jennings told the League Heads that this has become a double-edged sword: the BSF’s insurers have started treating all of these reports as potential claims and have raised the premium accordingly.

Currently, incident reports go direct to the insurers; in future, BSF may be a gateway for these reports and eliminate those that are minor and are never likely to result in claims.


Batting helmets

The BSF was recently asked by a League Head whether batting helmets have a shelf life.

The answer is that they do, though how long this is varies with different manufacturers and types of helmets.  Some helmets have date stamps based on date of manufacture; others don’t.

Although umpires should inspect helmets, as they do bats, for physical defects, the main issue is the state of the foam or sponge that cushions the wearer against impacts.  Leagues that have made helmets mandatory for all players (or where the BSF requires their use by under-18 players) might want to make sure helmets are checked regularly and replaced periodically.


Community Interest Companies

London Softball League representatives told the meeting that the league is changing its legal status to become a Community Interest Company (CIC), which offers legal protections, eligibility for grants and other benefits.

Other leagues may want to consider this.  More information is available here: https://www.sportenglandclubmatters.com/club-planning/club-structure/incorporated-organisations/.

 

AGM WORKSHOP SESSIONS

The BSF’s plan for the AGM was to follow the League Heads Forum meeting with three concurrent workshop sessions on NSL Rules and Regulations, Safeguarding and Safety, and Inclusive rules.

In the event, a survey prior to the AGM indicated that there would be little attendance at the latter two workshops.  So the session on Safeguarding and Safety was held within the formal AGM and the workshop on Inclusive Rules for non-binary players and Transgender Rules (which BSUK’s LGBT Panel is currently working on) may be offered as a Webinar or WebEx later in the year.

 

NSL WORKSHOP

The NSL Workshop did go ahead, with around 20 people attending, and there was constructive discussion of a number of topics relating to NSL play in 2020.

BSF President Jenny Fromer, who chaired the session, stressed that this would be an open discussion but that any decisions would be made at a later date by the BSF Executive rather than at the meeting.  She also said that the BSF wanted any changes made to apply to all teams across NSL1 and NSL2.

The underlying theme of the meeting, and the rationale for several items discussed, was a desire to speed up NSL games to get more innings played, based on the idea that the closer games can get to seven innings, the fairer the result is likely to be.

Last year, the BSF had canvassed NSL teams on three proposed changes in NSL play for the 2020 season:

  • When an over-the-fence home run is hit, the batter and all baserunners simply leave the field rather than circle the bases.  This was overwhelmingly approved in last year’s survey and is likely to be implemented in the NSL in 2020.
     
  • A limit on over-the-fence home runs should be imposed in NSL games.  In the survey, opinion on this was almost evenly divided.  But discussion at the Workshop revealed a lack of enthusiasm on the grounds that relatively few games are dominated by home runs, and the BSF will take this into account in making a decision.
     
  • NSL games should use a 1-and-1 count with “one to waste”.  This was overwhelmingly rejected in last year’s survey, but discussion at the Workshop suggested that there may be some sympathy for the idea as a way to significantly speed up games.  One suggestion, which the BSF will look at, is to trial the system at a tournament this year to determine the positive and negative outcomes.

Other suggestions for speeding up NSL games included outlawing throwing the ball around the infield between innings, umpires making sure players hustle on and off the field and teams ensuring that they have line-ups ready when a game is due to start.

Another topic discussed was the fact that scheduling the NSL3 National Championship tournament alongside the BSF League Nationals on the weekend of 8-9 August might force some teams and/or players to choose between one tournament or the other.  The BSF has allowed for this and has regulations in place that might allow players to play in both tournaments to some extent, but the consensus was that it would be better if this clash could be avoided.

With regard to the long-term aim of converting NSL3 to a league format, the question has always been how many teams at that level would commit to the necessary number of tournaments.  However, the fact that more than 20 Rec teams have signed up for all three Diamond tournaments this year suggests that this could be an opportunity in future to make an NSL3 league a reality.

Two more topics were discussed at the NSL Workshop before time ran out.

The first was the increasing number of players being imported onto NSL teams – particularly in NSL1 – from US bases or from Europe.  On the one hand, this is increasing the quality of play in the NSL (there is a clear parallel here with Premier League football) and helping the development of slowpitch in Europe.  But the concern is that imported players should be spread evenly for the sake of competitive balance, so does the BSF need to create regulations around this, perhaps by limiting the number of import players per team?

The second topic was the fact that the dates for the European Men’s Slowpitch Championship (16-20 June) mean that a number of top male players will be absent from their club teams for NSL competition at Diamond Series 2.  Unfortunately, there is little that can be done about this, but the question is whether teams that need to borrow players can only borrow them from a grade below, or whether they can borrow players from the same grade.  The BSF Executive will consider this at its next meeting.

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