Report on the A.G.M. of the English Chess Federation
London, 15th October 2011
The Agenda of the meeting and most of the reports presented can be downloaded:
The minutes, when ready will be added to that page. In the meantime we have:
The Chief Executive's blog: http://englishchess.org.uk/farthing/
An independent view from Richard Haddrell: http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/bcf.htm
Many miscellaneous comments: http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewforum.php?f=25
Constitution of the ECF. At present, the ECF is, legally, a company limited by
guarantee. In the past, every player becoming a member was invited to sign a form
by which (s)he undertook to guarantee the debts of the ECF by up to one pound.
Current advice differs, and new members will not be asked to sign the form. So now,
players will be able to join online, using the forthcoming ECF membership website.
A recent change in charity law means that amateur chess organisations may be able to
gain charitable status. The board is studying the possibility of dividing the ECF into
two bodies; one supporting professional chess; and the other with charitable
functions. The benefits might include a reduction of VAT, and perhaps a gain of
income through gift-aid.
The board is reported to be in favour making the ECF more democratic. But in view
of the immediate financial situation, actions in this direction have been deferred. In
the past, proposals for OMOV (One Man One Vote) were rejected by council. It is
natural that those council members who hold block votes would be reluctant to
relinquish their traditional influence.
ECF Finances The ECF budget is adopted at the April Finance Council, and full
documentation is on the ECF website (as above, paper C14.10). Briefly, the annual
government grant of £60,000 has been cancelled. This was 19% of total income in
2010. In October 2010 the chief executive, Andrew Farthing recommended some
economies, and offered Council four alternative strategies for raising income from
player fees (paper C13.12). Council rejected two options, and requested that the
Board expand details on a "Membership Scheme" and a "Simplified Game Fee"
scheme. Farthing then presented information on the funding of the ECF, and
amplified details of the two options to the April 2011 meeting (C14.11). Of these,
Council narrowly chose the "Membership Scheme", which envisaged 85% of adult
players becoming members for about £18 pounds per year each.
During the summer Farthing and the Board further refined this Membership Scheme,
proposing several classes of membership (at £13, £19, £28 and £60pa). Recognising
that all players may not join immediately, they proposed transitional measures:
a) graded congresses to pay £6 for each non-member competing, etc.
b) other graded events to pay non-member game-fees of up to £2 pppg.
This paper (C184.108.40.206) was presented to the October 2011 Council meeting, but it
was not put to a vote. Instead, Council was invited to enact changes to the
constitution and articles which would enable the new Membership Scheme.
The Yorkshire C A opposed these proposals because the transitional measures would
raise our game-fees from about £800 to about £2400.( See:
In the debate there was little support for this view. Many spoke in favour of the new
funding proposals, and in favour of the membership scheme. At the vote, the changes
were approved by overwhelming margins. This signifies strong support for a major
policy change towards making the ECF a membership organisation.
What will happen next. The ECF will launch an online membership subscription
service. All new annual memberships will run from September to August. Existing
MO agreements with Yorkshire, NMS, and others will be revised accordingly. The
board has already recommended the rates of subscriptions and transitional fees
(C15.13.4) which may be adopted at the April 2012 Council meeting. These rates will
be applied from September 2012.