by British Baseball Federation, www.britishbaseball.org
A number of new ideas for enhancing and growing British baseball were at the heart of the 2013-14 BBF AGM and Congress, held on Saturday 9 November at the Holiday Inn in Leicester. Around 60 people from just over 20 clubs attended, with 53 votes available to be cast for motions and elections.
For the first time, in addition to the formal AGM held in the morning, the BBF Board added an afternoon Congress session, in which presentations were made by Board members and others on topics that included development strategy, a new GB/BBF tournament concept, talent funding, the future of youth baseball and how BBF clubs can get more value from the BBF website.
During the AGM itself, presentations were made, followed by questions and answers, on BBF incorporation and its implications and on the possibility of the BBF increasing its income in future through a new approach to affiliation fees.
Following the Congress plenary session, there were informal divisional meetings for the NBL, North, South, Midlands and Youth, with input from BSUK regional development staff. The meetings enabled team representatives to look at incorporating some of the AGM decisions and Congress themes as they plan for the 2014 season. The evening social that followed was well attended and thoroughly enjoyed by the delegates.
For the second year in succession, the formal AGM was chaired by British Softball Federation Treasurer Mike Jennings.
The main new ideas, put forward either by the Board or in motions from members, included a redefinition of youth competition age ranges, a possible move in the future from club and team fees to individual player fees, a requirement for all teams to upload game statistics onto the BSF website, a proposal to provide more high-level competition for UK-based GB players and a requirement that all NBL and AAA teams that do not currently have junior sections will need to establish them on a phased basis between now and the 2017 season.
In general, the AGM showed a settled and determined BBF Board putting forward a number of initiatives designed to improve the experience for players, support the GB Baseball programme and grow the sport, particularly at the youth level. These initiatives were broadly welcomed by those in attendance, but there were a number of questions raised, and, as always, the devil will be in the detail when it comes to implementation.