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09/11/2016 - Open Meeting of the Malaga Provincial Committee - Miraflores Bowls Club
FAB MALAGA OPEN MEETING
at Santa Maria Bowls Club, Wednesday, 9th November 2016 – 4.30 for 5 pm
Benalmadena BC - Marion Allen, Greg Ellwood, Dave Ewer, Mac Farlow, Mercedes Neilson, Mike Stapleton
Benavista LBC – Gordon Adams, John Carr, Bill Davies, Bixio Foletti, Ruby & Terry Groom, Neil Marshall
Don Pablo BC – Garry Aldridge, Pat & Bob Baker, Amber & Lennie Dineen, Jeff Turner
La Posada LBC – Alan Baxter, Nick Cummins, Maureen Fewings
Lauro Golf BC – Ron Jones, Julian Thomas
Los Amigos LBC – Lisa Ives
Mijas LBC – P & VA Allard, Tony Barnes, Geoff Collins, Sheila & Roy Garland, Sheila & Roy Graveling, Barbara & Tony Land, Jenny Parkin, Carol & Roberto Wright
Miraflores LBC – Derek Carr, Brenda & Bryan Collier, Chris Down, Carol & Grant Frost, Bill Gregory, Brig Gunn, Gordon & Margaret Kain, Dorothy Pilmoor, Graham Rowley, Pam & Derek Shemmings, Dine Warn
Santa Maria LBC – Chris Hussey, Susan Walker
Non-affiliated – Lynne Down, Maureen Robertshaw, Arthur Lees
Apologies: Alan Turner (Santa Maria), Jim Neilson (Benalmadena), Jeff Rowe (La Posada)
1 Chairman’s Welcome – John Carr (JC)
JC introducted himself at the Chair of the Malaga FAB. He explained that in the elections, all entries would be accepted but all committee members must be federated. He was pleased to have such a good turn-out for the meeting and although not stated on the agenda, there would be an opportunity for questions at the end of each presentation. The intention was for openness – LTD: Legal, Transparent and Democratic. Some of those present were not big fans of the Federation but by the time they left, would know more about it. All questions would be taken through the Chair and one speaker at a time.
2 Treasurer’s Report – Julian Thomas (JT)
JT introduced himself and explained that he had recently joined the FAB in the Treasurer’s position. He promised to provide facts and figures, but any detailed questions which he couldn’t answer, he would find out. The previous Treasurer had done a very good job. He explained that the accounts were very simple, monies came in and went straight out again: Federation fees, World Bowls fees, the cost of the Handbook and the 3 annual matches – Andalucian Championships, Malaga Cup and Christmas Hamper. There was a surplus last year of €376 and this year to date of €421.
Several issues were mentioned and in order to address questions, JT has added his answers:
· Derek Shemmings, Miraflores, asked about the fees which are sent to the President of the FAB, the FEB not knowing how much is sent on. (JT: This is beyond the remit of our Malaga FAB accounts – refer to FAB and FEB accounts.)
· Terry Groom, Benavista, had sent 3 e-mails asking for the cost of cash prizes to be sanctioned but nothing had happened. (JT FEB membership and FAB accounting procedure allows cash prizes to be awarded if desired. Ultimately for member to decide.)
· Geoff Collins, Mijas, asked whether once the fees had been paid to the FAB, there was any chance that any would filter back down to the clubs. (JT: If clubs hold events that are FEB registered members only and follow correct claims procedure then yes, it can.)
· Carol Frost, Miraflores, said no one had had sight of the accounts, that it was very straightforward to provide these. (JT: Accounts will be produced on a monthly basis and available to all federated members.)
· Grant Frost, Miraflores, said that the green fees for Miraflores for the Andalucian Championships had not been paid, that €1,100 was outstanding, and this is affecting their financial situation which shows on the website. (JT: This question is based on erroneous facts. All accounts hve been paid in full. The financial accounts for last year are correct and unaffected.)
· Terry Groom, Benavista, said he had sponsored the Christmas Hamper but not been reimbursed. JC understood that this had been run at his own very generous expense and that the date had been changed.
· Brig Gunn, Miraflores, asked if accounts were going to be audited. (JT: The size of the Malaga FAB accounts do not warrant the cost of outside auditing. Internal auditing is standard accounting practice.)
JC brought discussions to a close by saying that when the new committee took over, it would be more streamlined and made to work perfectly. Problems will be looked after by a democratic committee.
3 Report on Proposals for the Future – Gordon Kain (GK)
JC introduced GK and explained that he has liaised with the other two provinces in Spain who are completely federated, and has done a lot of hard work.
GK started his report by saying that he had a simple message, of bad news, that we in Malaga are the only bowlers who are still playing lawn bowls illegally, then the good news that we can easily rectify the situation by joining the Federation for the grand sum of €15 per year, as the law in Spain demands.
The past few weeks has been a nightmare which has seriously affected MK’s health. She cannot do anything half-heartedly and has spent many hours in using her past experience in creating forms and word processing. Nothing is perfect, but it will save the new committee a lot of work. He stressed that it was better to speak direct rather than instigate rumours and half truths, to be honest and to speak to the people concerned.
He felt the best way to start was to answer questions put to him recently, ‘Who are you?’ and ‘What right have you to speak?’ I am nobody. I hold no position in my club or official place in the FAB. Why me? GK explained he was not here to tell anyone what to do, simply to report back. He and MK are here to enjoy bowling and had no intention of getting involved in administrative work. MK has been the Federation Representative on the Owners’ Committee. As Chair, she drew up a new programme and looked at how to improve bowls. Unfortunately she then had a heart attack and could not take any further pressure, at which point GK took over.
He started with what he knew in the UK, how when you join a club you pay your subscription and a proportion goes to the Federation. No one asks any questions about it. If lawn bowls had been fully established originally, it would not be a problem now. The problems originated when inter-club competitions were played.
GK explained that he has had very lengthy correspondence with Bob Donnelly who represents Lawn Bowls in Spain, and he explained about the Law of Spain and discussed the fact that many bowlers in the Malaga Province are not federated.
FAB has taken action against bolos and ten pin bowling and the law is clear about anyone participating in inter-club events that they must be federated. Lawn bowls has ‘got away’ with it because the FEB has turned a blind eye. However, the new President intends to do something about this. If a club is reported, their tax situation will be investigated, whereas if federated, the club is absolved from tax responsibilities. If an insurance claim is made through its 3rd party fire and theft policy, it could be refused if a competition is not legal. If not fully federated, a club is not registered and legal.
Bob Donnelly said that he knew of at least 2 instances of action being taken against clubs and when he explained this situation to his own people in the Costa Blanca and North and South Alicante regions, the 2 committees combined and formed a new committee. His advice to the Malaga area was ‘Do not believe action could not be taken against your club’. Later this affected the Costa Almeria and whilst it did not go through easily, everyone agreed to do the same and become fully federated and organised a full year’s bowling programme. This left ourselves as the only group not doing the same. GK felt at this point that he had to tell the Owners’ group that bowling arrangements were not legal. He was invited to a management meeting on the 15th April this year but not allowed to attend.
GK then approached every club directly and managed over a period to speak to most clubs in the area. He was happy to speak to the captain, president, members, anyone who was available. He felt that league matches could be a problem and that he couldn’t wait for a club to be prosecuted.
There are 17 different laws applying to clubs and federations. The key message is that they must be controlled by the players themselves. They are the governing body and the law is framed around this. The law under Article 15 states that sports clubs must federate. Offenses are classified as less serious, moderate and very serious. It is regarded as very serious to organise a sports competition without authorisation. In confirmation, GK spoke to Jim and Mercedes Neilson who were more up-to-date with the legislation, and Bill Davies spoke to a judge and lawyers specialising in sports law. They all agreed that that is the Law.
GK went on to say that for the record, he agreed to attend a recent meeting of the Owners’ group committee and thanked them for their warm welcome and support.
What is the cost? €15 for 2017. Why argue when compared with the cost of drinks and food in a restaurant; paddle tennis at €150; skateboarding €200; golf €76. Lawn bowls at €15 per year is minimal. When asked ‘Why pay €15 to play in the league?’, a counter question could be ‘Why do you pay road tax?’ Why? Because it is the law.
€15 needs to be in the hands of the treasurer as soon as possible. The collection of this fee will vary from club to club and in future some will include the amount in their subscription costs when they are being collected. Claiming back expenses for an Open is a possibility which JT will manage.
GK finished by asking that we appoint an interim committee to manage bowling and agree next year’s events, leading up to a full AGM in October 2017. Anyone present can stand for office. He emphasised that we must avoid bitterness by working together for the good of the game.
Discussions following GK’s presentation included:
· Derek Shemmings, Miraflores, said that the agenda was about the future but the presentation had focussed on the past and threats regarding illegality. He asked what is the future? Most bowlers accept that it is the law when competing in competitions. Who is going to organise the calendar? You don’t have the knowledge. How far is the Federation getting involved in running bowling? GK responded that YOU are the future and that MK would be explaining the process. DS replied that it is a responsibility to ensure that everything is done correctly eg taxes, food hygiene, etc.
· Terry Groom, Benavista, said that he, through his own choice, had always been in the Federation but many feel that they are being pushed into a corner. He questioned who would sort out any fine as at an earlier meeting the President of the FAB had said that they would never take anyone to court, and TG said in any case it takes too long. He went on to say that owners had decided some years ago not to belong the Federation as they were paying a lot of money which was disappearing. He asked how are we going to accommodate owners.
JC responded by asking, ‘Do we want to worry about sanctions’? It is no longer a choice, if you want to play in leagues and competitions, you will have to join. You don’t have a choice. GK said it is unlikely that the Federation will be the one to prosecute but any individual can take out a denuncia. Any grievance would be sufficient. Regarding the owners, GK said it’s the law and owners can go to FAB meetings to represent their members. JC said that anyone can stand for office, that it is not taking away their right to be involved in running the new system. Don Pablo, Mijas and Benalmadena were among clubs who have decided that all members will be fully federated and Mac Farlow, Benalmadena, said that in the UK all players are members of a federation and governing body and that here it was no different.
JT said that in response to DS’s concerns about the €15 in question, being worried about control and who will look after the calendar and leagues, that we are trying to get a new system in place in order to move forward and to elect a proper committee for YOU to decide what is best with regard to each of these issues. It is up to YOU to be the people concerned.
· DS pointed out that it is a legal requirement for World Bowls, for the UK counties (eg Kent has 161 bowls clubs and a Kent Bowling Association) whereas here we have only 8-9 active clubs which doesn’t need a committee of 20+ people.
· Geoff Collins, Mijas, said that 2 things were unclear 1) Visting teams – what is the position, do they have to be pre-federated before they can play? Do companies add a fee? and 2) Individuals taking part in open competitions, coming for 1-2 weeks, do they have to be pre-federated?
GK explained that visiting teams do not join a club and therefore do not need to federate. Visiting individuals can pay €15 for all competitions without actually joining a club.
4 New Structure – Margaret Kain (MK)
JC introduced MK by saying that she had worked ceaselessly to organise the Andalucian Federation events and lots of other things including dress code.
MK started her presentation by saying that there were concerns about taking over and wanting to run bowls, when all we want is bowling that all are going to enjoy and benefit from. She went on to explain that in her previous working life she had been involved in organisation and method, and best working practices, and whilst the current system is working, it can be improved upon. At the end of the day we want to hear from YOU. We pay our fees, bowl and do what we want.
There is a need to take account of clubs, there are only 2 owners and the rest are members clubs and one or 2 have to pay a massive rent for members to play. We must do things fairly with regard to the calendar.
She went on to explain the flow chart which she had produced and said it was not the be all and end all but that it was necessary to have a working format for the first few weeks as a new system comes into being. Similar to all clubs, the new management structure will have its own chair/delegado(a), secretary, treasurer, and in addition a competition convenor, competition secretary, league secretary and match secretary who are responsible for organising everything in Costa del Sol bowling including the Andalucian Championships, Christmas Hamper, Malaga Cup, the leagues and so on. Clubs will continue to be responsible for their own Open competitions.
Each club will have a representative for whom forms and job descriptions are available and clubs will be asked with regard to their Open whether they want 4 or 8 days, what it comprises, which dates are preferred. A competitions group would make up the calendar for the year and then meet with representatives from all the clubs to agree a final calendar, thus clubs are still having an input but in a more controlled environment. Other competitions such as the Champion of Champions would be held by different clubs each year. Good working practices would ensure that everything is run in a more business-like and professional way with everyone having an equal input.
Job descriptions for each post in the flow chart are available if anyone wants to stand for the committee. MK emphasised that she and GK are not standing for any position, that she has used her knowledge and suggests that it will save the new committee a great deal of work if they adopt these new systems.
JC thanked MK. He asked that those present should tell the rest of their bowlers about their membership of the Federation/FAB/FEB. As regards the interests of owners, they are part of the Federation so if they feel that something is not going how it should, it can be put to the committee, or they could stand for the committee and are not left out in the cold. He asked for questions from those present.
· Grant Frost, Miraflores, said that he would like to share some thoughts and observations and throw out a few challenges. He would like to look at the legal aspect. Putting the situation into perspective, he pointed out that everyone was retired, enjoying the time they have left, and the majority present are more activist than social bowlers who form the majority and all they want to do is play bowls. It is a declining sport. Clubs need revenue and this cannot be diminished. FAB bowls as a sport is marginal compared with mainstream bowling, covering competitive bowling as opposed to social bowling. There is no detailed definition. Most other sports which are federated are only involved at the highest level.
The word ‘illegal’ has been bandied about to a group of retired people and this is terrifying them. He said he was not convinced that the meeting was legal. No notice had been given in the correct timescale, no notice as part of the circulation that there would be nominations and the location had been misconstrued as JC on the website had published Miraflores. He gave examples of the law regarding motoring, number of days residency and tax obligations. GK had mentioned Bob Donnelly and on 23rd August on the Valencia website it said that no law says federated and federated only bowlers can play each other. Federated players can play where they like but non-federated only at home. Opens involve paying green fees. All of the facilities are privately owned and all people are playing. The President Senor Nieto says the Federation is not responsible or inclined to take action. In Andalucia the priority is sport for all. If individual are denouncing, a deposit of €500 has to be lodged for each one. GF said he could not see anyone doing this.
He went on to say that regarding the structure, when a business unit restructures, the new business gets rid of all unnecessary levels of management. Representatives represent bowlers for owners and members and no one can dictate what to do, what to change and who can do it. If something is not broken, don’t fix it. Miraflores members can federate or not but most people do not respond well to being threatened. We need to encourage new bowlers.
GK responded that he had not threatened anyone and advocating to break the law can cause a club to be closed, that the authorities have the power. He questioned whether social members were in a majority, certainly not in most clubs.
· Bixio Foletti, Benavista, pointed out that the definition of social is someone who plays in a club and not inter-league. Tournaments must be federated. A new letter from the Federation regarding a new law for Andalucia states that they want people to be sporty but always under the umbrella of the Federation. This entitles players to a medical sports card and a free national health check.
GK poined out that there is a social membership for €5 for insurance to play only in your own club. The €15 fee includes insurance. People from other countries can play in competitions if they have a licence. He quoted Bob Donnelly that by paying a Federation fee, all competitions if you want to play must be federated, otherwise it could be compared to what happened with betting along the coast where television screens were taken and bars closed down by the police.
· Mike Stapleton, Benalmadena, asked about the adjudication for dates, especially when bearing in mind the weather.
MK replied that it was time for a change and for the allocation to be fairer.
· Lennie Dineen, Don Pablo, questioned why there are no free dates in the calendar when Belplaya BC and Superbowl BC have gone. Change is needed to sort out this situation.
JC pointed out that clubs are often not represented at the owners’ meeting or there were regular changes in personnel.
· Ron Jones, Lauro, said he had not seen the job descriptions.
The secretary provided him with copies.
MK continued her presentation by outlining each of the committee posts: Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Competitions Convenor, Competitions Secretary, Match Secretary, Sponsorship Officer and Publicity Officer. Team Malaga, Coaching and Umpiring would have separate AGMs but report through the structure. Forms were given out, with job descriptions, for Club Representatives, one per club, to be returned by 30th November 2016 and these representatives would liaise with their own members. It was intended that a sub group would consider clubs’ needs with regard to competitions and put together a calendar, finally meeting with every club representative and finalising a schedule. Clubs would take responsibility as now for their own Open. The Federation competitions – Malaga Cup, Christmas Hamper and Andalucian Championships – would be allocated to clubs who would then be responsible for co-ordinating umpires, markers and results. GK pointed out that firms can get tax credits for providing sponsorship. Amber Dineen has previously done the Costa del Sol Handbook but this was late last year and is not available yet this season. All minutes of meetings will be open to everyone.
JT explained that with regard to invoices, the new FAB procedures had to be followed and problems should be avoided in the future. Auditing would be done by an independent person, but official auditing was only necessary where large amounts of money were concerned. He went on to explain that regarding cash prizes, there were new proposals to allow us to be able to pay cash prizes and still be within the law. Claims could be made to the Federation to offset membership fees. With regard to the collection of the €15s JT has sent out the forms and requests payment by 30th November. Next year some clubs would be making it part of their subscriptions. In answer to AD’s question about insurance and new members, he went on to explain that a player is recognised as a legal player when they have filled in the form and given it to the Club Representative. That person, however, is not insured until JT has the form, the money, and passed both to the FAB. The FAB then fills out their form with the insurance company and issues a membership card. At that point the member is covered by insurance. JT also explained that individuals who are not members of a club can deal directly with himself to become affiliated in order to play in a competition(s).
· Ron Jones, Lauro, said he had three points to make 1) If we have a new committee, do competitions continue? 2) New licences – Lauro BC is paying and it is not part of the subscriptions starting 1st January 2017. 3) If you change clubs does the licence move with you?
GK said that nobody wants change for change’s sake, that the programme would continue as planned, except where there is an overlap. He confirmed that a licence would continue if members changed clubs.
For the Malaga Cup 2016, if anyone wants to enter who is not currently federated, it would cost €15, a reduction on the €18 paid by federated members for 1st January to 31st December 2016, and this would also cover the Christmas Hamper competition. This is in addition to the €15 for 1st January to 31st December 2017.
5 Election of Officers
The following officers were elected:
Chairman/Delegado Bill Davies Proposed: Neil Marshall Seconded: Lennie Dineen
Secretary Marion Allen Proposed: Pat Baker Seconded: Garry Aldridge
Treasurer Julian Thomas Proposed: Roberto Wright Seconded: M Robertshaw
Competition Convenor Lennie Dineen Proposed: Margaret Kain Seconded: Barbara Land
Competition Secretary Amber Dineen Proposed: Garry Aldridge Seconded: Carol Wright
League Secretary Dine Warn Proposed: Barbara Land Seconded: Carol Wright
Match Secretary Susan Walker Proposed: Greg Ellwood Seconded: M Robertshaw
Sponsorship Secretary Not appointed
Publicity Officer John Carr Proposed: Amber Dineen Seconded: Barbara Land
Club Representatives To be appointed within each of the clubs by 30th November 2016
In conclusion, Bill Davies, the new Chairman/Delegado, introduced himself as the Club Captain at Benavista Lawn Bowls Club. He said he was happy to represent bowlers on the Costa del Sol and how excited he is about the things MK and GK have put together. He will be meeting with the new committee to act on your behalf. He stressed that he liked everything to be open, with no secret meetings and that he will represent you to the best of his ability. JC is standing down and he thanked him for all his hard work, and as it was his birthday everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday’.
JC thanked MK and GK for their input.
The meeting closed at 7.40 pm. Date of next meeting – to be arranged
Marion Allen, FAB Malaga Secretary 10th November 2016
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