BAFA released this statement in reply to Drew Andersons posts on the UK Gridiron group on Facebook. The statement is taken from their website.
Be warned, it's long...
The British American Football Association has today responded to the recent publication of details of recent changes within the organisation and questions arising from this.
This follows a Board of Directors Meeting held on Saturday 13th of April to which all Directors were invited to attend along with the Finance Manager and the Welfare Manager.
It is with regret that details surrounding the changes have become public at this stage but, now that they have done so, it is incumbent upon the Board of Directors to provide further details and provide clarity on some of the points raised.
In a recently published document a series of statements were made which require redress, not least as they refer to third party organisations.
The first statement relates to the investment of £60,000 from Sport England in a Central Registration System. In March of 2007 the BAFA Board received an Impact and Improvement Award from Sport England through the CCPR. The figure of £60,000 is inaccurate. The amount received was £32,160 for three separate projects, only one of which was CRS.
In terms of subsequent systems reviewed to build upon the data captured in the original CRS a number of suppliers were looked at. As stated in the recent publication, in 2011 a project to establish a new CRS was agreed. The system sourced did not provide the solution for the sport and was only used for the National Leagues. This was superseded by the current system which was ordered without the full involvement or agreement of the Board of Directors.
The inability of the CRS (in operation prior to the current one) to operate effectively has meant that in order to establish the membership figures and to ensure correct billing for student football and coaching, representatives from the Student Directorate and Student Coaches’ Association have manually cross referenced over 8,000 people on rosters, something which the Director for Student Football has undertaken in the past too, when problems have been encountered. In undertaking this task it has transpired that there has been an under collection of BAFA fees from the National Leagues. The data on the CRS system (which collected the fees electronically) had just over 3,000 players, coaches and administrators on it. The review of the rosters showed over 4,000 members. An in-depth report was requested for the April Board meeting on the progress being made by the National Leagues to reclaim unpaid fees (league fees (including insurance); coaches’ fees and the BAFA fee). As yet, no report with a breakdown has been forthcoming.
This under-collection, coupled with overspends on the operations of the National Leagues has meant that the National Leagues have had to run at a considerable operating deficit, far beyond the competition fees levied (team fee, player fee etc over and above the core BAFA fee of £20 for adults) which should cover the cost of the competitions. Indeed, not only have the National Leagues competitions (i.e. BritBowl) received support, the Benevolent Fund which exists to support people in the National Leagues has been funded by BAFA’s central fee to ensure it is maintained. The insurance costs for all members have been covered by use of the central BAFA funds and the BAFA funds will ensure there is no shortfall passed on to the Coaches’ Association.
Whilst the bottom line of the BAFA accounts (which are externally audited) has been carefully maintained to ensure the Governing Body is in the black, the continuation of such a situation, exacerbated by expenditure agreements made without the involvement of the whole Board, threatened the viability of the other ring-fenced money within the BAFA account (i.e. student football) and investment in projects established as part of the Governance Review and Strategy Development.
The Board is aware of both the strengths and limitations of the From School Yard to Super Bowl document which was launched at Wembley last year and circulated to the relevant Directors and Officers of the BAFA Directorates last Autumn. Since its publication the feedback received has been relatively uniform. The principles and recommendations contained within are recognised as valid and appropriate but people have requested further information as to implementation, in particular in regard to changes to the BAFA Board.
Internally there has been a range of discussions. The changes in personnel for the coaching and refereeing elements of the sport are tied in with election processes with the respective associations. At the pre-season meeting for student football (held in Sheffield prior to the current BUCS season) the Director of Student Football announced that he would be stepping down in 2014 following the creation of a Sports Management Group after the first season of BUCS competition (the women’s one is currently in existence). The Chair of BAFA, Gary Marshall, announced at a BAFA Board Meeting in the summer of 2012 that he would be stepping down in the summer of 2013 to allow BAFA to advertise for a suitable replacement to join in 2014. Mr Jon Wyse of BAFCA also stepped down from his role.
The position of Ms Biscombe was a temporary one (2012 season duration: http://www.britishamericanfootball.org/news.aspx?id=64 with Ms Biscombe being appointed to replace Matthew Davies on the recommendation of the National Leagues representative. Her position with the Board was extended upon the completion of the 2013 season until such time during the 2013/14 operating year that a Director for Community Football was appointed. This role, as per the Governance Document, is not designed to run competitions but to oversee the sport’s sustainable growth in the community sector.
The role of the other National Leagues representative was also considered at this time. He was elected by representatives of the National Leagues clubs to represent them to the BAFA Board in respect of the management of the National Leagues competition. The BAFA Board agreed to the reappointment of the Director until such time that the competition roles moved under the auspices of the newly created Director of Operations and the sport had a series of Sport Management Groups for different competition strands thereby making the current Board role unnecessary.
As stated earlier, it is with regret that we are in this position of having to make this announcement