In today’s AGM, we backed the proposal of VE’s board for individual registration for U18s and Adults who are regularly competing in Volleyball England competitions and affiliated club training. This motion, although achieving a majority of the represented clubs, failed to achieve the 75% necessary majority to approve the change. On the face of it, looking at VE’s accounts, in the 2014 accounts 68% of income came from Sport England. In 2013, it was 56%. Our reliance as a community on the political whims of Sport England is actually increasing. The costs of membership and competition services we receive are not met by the fees we pay. This is far from a healthy situation for a National Governing Body to be in, a change of government or a change of political policy could destroy the Governing Body completely. Effectively, our sport is funded at an ever increasing rate by political whim.
On the other side of this issue, our 2013-2017 Whole Sport Plan is the document from which the 68% funding comes from. In this period, it requires a significant increase in participation at grass roots. We have no method to measure grass roots Volleyball. In the AGM, figures of around 20% of current participants are registered through one of the existing schemes (VEBT, NVL or SVGP) were given. However, these figures are an unknown. If you ever go to a funder and ask them to provide you with money, they ask you how many customers you’ve got and what you sell to them. As a community, on the national level, we genuinely have no idea. I know, from when we approach sponsors at a local level, they want to know our market. If we can’t tell them who or what or market is, they don’t want to know. The same is true on a national level.
Several suggestions were made in respect of collecting data through Regional or County Associations. We do not consider this to be a practical solution. Our Regional and County Associations are volunteer-led too, and despite what was said in the AGM, they have no records of our New Forest participants other than those who are involved with those competitions.
We also fully support the concept of individual registration, whether a fee be levied or not, for every participant. The concept of a player license demonstrates (even a physical card) that the player belongs to the wider community, the community we all belong to and has been disjointed. Even a simple id card bears that sense of ownership. Comments were made at today’s AGM that suggests the systems and enforcement aren’t ready (although from our professional lives we are aware that systems are only really tested when they are used) can be overcome by this. In local and regional leagues, this overcomes the difficulties involved – players are either registered & entitled to play, or they are not. In summary, we believe that we will not be in a position to demonstrate in 2017 the amazing things that clubs have achieved up and down the country in the investment zones, nor will we be able to have a Governing Body that is in a position to put more of its efforts into membership services.
As a result, we believe that it is now appropriate to return to an EGM in the autumn of this year, with a view to implementing individual registration for the entire community at any age or skill level from 2015/2016. Beyond this, we believe this puts us as significant risk of failing to have the necessary data to demonstrate our compliance with the 2017 targets. Let’s check the systems do work, and have a year at least to work out the kinks.
FOR AND ON BEHALF OF NEW FOREST & LYMINGTON VOLLEYBALL
26TH JULY 2014