Friday, March 25, 2011

And the fun continues...

Yesterday was the Semi Annual General Meeting of the European Curling Federation and just 18 of the 37 members of the Federation were represented in person. The problem was that 50% are required to make the meeting quorate so no decisions could be taken! So bit of a waste of time for anyone who had travelled specially, though most are here for today’s WCF Annual General Assembly.

The meeting got off to a sensational start when President Andrew Ferguson-Smith announced that he had come to an agreement with the municipality of Champery for the setting up of a European Centre of Curling Excellence in Champery of which he would be the first CEO. It was going to be set as a Société à responsabilité limitée, broadly equivalent to a private company limited by shares (Ltd) in the United Kingdom with 49% owned by the ECF and 51%% by the curling club and municipality of Champery. The HQ office of the ECF would also be there and the municipality was giving free office space.

After the good burghers of Champery had given their presentation on the project, uproar ensued as many of the ECF members complained that they were being presented with a fait accompli and that they had not had a chance to see if this deal was the best for their association and members. Even the Executive Board of the ECF had only seen the proposal last night and so were not prepared to fully back their President.

After last year’s stand-off with the WCF this was a further blow to the credibility of the ECF President with his members. At the end of the day he was asked to go away and produce the paperwork for the project, which he hoped to begin in September, so that members could pore over it and check out the details.

That is not to say that the members disagreed with the idea – all who spoke backed the concept of the proposal but unfortunately the manner of its presentation and sudden appearance on the agenda did not find favour. One can only hope that the visitors from Champery will not drop the idea as being too much of a hot potato and that the proposal will get the go ahead in due course.

The rest of the meeting passed quietly. The one major announcement was that the 2012 EMCC and ECC – C group competitions would more than likely be in Erzurum, Turkey, the recent site of the World University Games. Just a few more details need to be finalised before the venue is confirmed. Interestingly to make the combination of the two championships easier the games in the ECC-C group will be limited to 8 ends, the same as the EMCC.

The International Court of Arbitration of Sport had also thrown out Poland’s legal action against the ECF after the ECF had suspended them from the European Championships for non-payment of their annual subscription. It was also announced that ten countries had still to pay their subscription for this year – including Denmark, Germany and Russia. I hope the last pays in time or they will not be playing at the Europeans in Moscow!

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