Article complied by James Platt & Steve Price.
We thought we’d take a closer look at the proposed changes relating to the EGMs for BAFA and BAFCA.
BAFA have used independent law firm Farrer and Co who have already worked with ‘Women in Sport’.
Key Takeaways of BAFA Articles of Association Changes (if accepted)
Click here to see the proposed tracked changes to the BAFA Articles of Association.
There are a number of terminology, inconsistency and grammatical changes in the amendments. For instance, all references and ‘he’ and ‘Chairman’ have been replaced with ‘they’ and ‘Chair’ so the document is not gender specific. Also, there were a few different ways that BAFA Members were referred to in the previous versions of the Articles, these will now all be changed to ‘Members’. The term ‘Non-Executive Director’ will be completely removed from the document.
BAFCA would become a sub-committee (called BAFCC) which has an entire new section of the Articles dedicated to it (section 8). It is made very clear that BAFA would have full control over BAFCC. Also, the BAFA Board would have to approve BAFCC Member appointments.
BAFCA would no longer have a vote at General Meetings nor representation on the Board. Both of these would be possible to alter at the BAFA Board’s discretion.
There is the creation of 2 more Committees, ‘Audit’ and ‘Nominations’ – little information is available on what the role of these Committees will be.
No additional Committees would be able to be added, assumingly unless subject to a Member’s vote.
Board Members on a Commission
Board Members will be able to part of a Commission. A Commission is defined as ‘an individual or group entrusted by the Executive Board with delegated powers to act on their behalf.’
Changes to Appointment of Roles
The BAFA Chair, CEO and 4 Main Directors would all become Board appointed and not voted for by Members. The 3 Independent Directors would be voted for by Members.
At present the Members have to vote for the appointment of the Chair, Ops Director and 3 Non-Executive Directors.
2 become 1
The number of representatives that a Club is entitled to send to General Meetings would be reduced from 2 to 1. The vote count/representation for the Club remains at 1.
Paid Employees At The Boards Discretion
BAFA would be able to pay Directors and Employees without having to go to a Member vote to do so. At present, the Articles do not allow for paid Directors or Employees so obviously with the appointment of a CEO role this had to be addressed.
It’s still early doors but initial reactions seem to be split into various camp. Some see this as BAFA creating an Ivory Tower where there is no accountability. Some see this as BAFA choosing to favour Sport England’s whims over what the people who are involved in the sport actually want. Some see this as a hugely positive step for the sport as the Board are trying to bring more money in.
One thing that isn’t mentioned in any of the changes is BAFRA. For some reason the proposal doesn’t see them being turned into a sub-committee like BAFCA. This could potentially be a plan for the future and it is simply a case of BAFCA going first, or there may be some politically charged resistance from BAFRA to change.
Coach Brett Rosenbaum, who is a British-American Quality Control Coach at the University of Massachusetts, got in touch with us on this topic and said that he’d expect BAFRA to be next to become a sub-committee.
Coach Rosenbaum went on to say that if BAFRA didn’t then its likely that instead they would have the BAFA funding phased out and become “a standard service provider, allowing other companies to be endorsed and licensed to train and provide referees.” This may actually mean there are more referees in the UK and fewer under-officiated or non-officiated games.
This would be interesting as with either scenario, BAFRA would lose their seat on the BAFA Board, which for the time being they hang on to.
There are also 4 new appointments that have been made with three Non-Executive Directors added to BAFA and the Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Sub-Committee.
The 3 Non-Executive Directors are Colin Allen, Kenny Bello and Heather Smith with Phoebe Schecter becoming Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion committee.
Colin Allen has worked with elite athlete development programmes for over 13 years. Kenny Bello is the founder of The UK Dukes, who promote American Football participation globally. Heather Smith is the Associate Head of Development at Women in Sport and Phoebe Schecter held a coaching internship with the Buffalo Bills and is currently a coach for the GB U19s.
This is great for BAFA to bring in four people who provide a wealth of knowledge and experience to help the British game grow.
Key Takeaways of BAFCA Terms of Reference Changes (if accepted)
There are much fewer Key Takeaways for this document but lets dive in! The biggest stand out proposed changes are with the Committee Member positions, looking through them they all have expanded areas of responsibility. This may not suit the tastes of the current Directors and it could result in a few people stepping down within the first 12 months.
Sport England Motivation
The document does confirm that the NGB (BAFA) are instilling the new governance structure required by Sport England.
Simpler Flow of Data
One of the listed ‘driving forces’ of the changes is the ‘Removal of GDPR barriers’. Assumingly this refers to existing complications of data storage, transfer and processing between BAFA and BAFCA enforced by GPDR.
Risk Removal for BAFCA Board
Another of the listed ‘driving forces’ of the changes is the ‘Removal of financial risk and independent legal action for Board Members’. This simply means that the existing liabilities as Directors would no longer applyfor the BAFCA Board as they would now be shouldered by the BAFA Board.
As with the BAFA changes, BAFCA have some new proposed Titles for their leadership team. ‘President’ would become ‘Chair’. ‘Vice President’ would become ‘Vice Chair’. ‘Directors’ would become ‘Committee Members’.
This in itself may be enough to see some step away from or not attracted to the roles as they would no longer hold the prestige of a Directorship.
4 Year Strategy With Yearly Deliverables
The BAFCC would have to prepare a 4-year strategy with yearly deliverables to the BAFA Board. This would obviously become part of the way that the success of BAFCC is measured. It would be great is BAFA make this information available to Members.
Introduction of Independent Financial Audit
The BAFCC would be subject to an annual financial audit from an Independent company appointed by BAFA.
Deputy Chair Additional Responsibilities
Specific responsibilities of the Deputy Chair role regarding Safeguarding, Ethics and Discipline to be added. This is a big area of responsibility added to this role.
BAFA is Boss
The Finance Committee Member for the BAFCC would be supervised by BAFAs Finance Director.
Without Portfolio Roles To Be Given One
2 of the existing Director Without Portfolio roles would become Committee Members with a Portfolio. Namely for Marketing and Communications. Based on the skillset of the existing Directors, it is likely that the incumbent individuals step away following these changes.