Saturday 10th September 2015 marked 300 days to go until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and was also the date that British Fencing held its 2015 Annual General Meeting at the offices of the British Olympic Association.
A brief introduction from Chairman, David Teasdale, which include a summary of the current sporting landscape in the UK was followed by an unchallenged approval of the minutes of last year’s meeting.
Paul Wedge was then introduced as a new Board Director as Mr. Teasdale thanked the parting Directors, Alp Orge, Graham Paul and William Pitt.
John Troiano, Board Director responsible for the organisation’s finances, proceeded to give an excellent summary of British Fencing’s position. Major points included:
– 68% of income is derived from funding bodies (e.g. UK Sport and Sport England)
– Events are now running at a much smaller loss than previously mainly due to the withdrawal from hosting a women’s sabre World Cup and the restrictions imposed on the entry fee for the Eden Cup and Leon Paul International
– Reserve targets are on target (i.e. operating with a total surplus to cover one year of corporate services)
– Beazley sponsorship to end so the organisation is focussed on finding new sponsors
– Accounts approved
Chief Executive, Georgina Usher, then gave an introduction including a brief history of membership fees and the registration charge that is the proportion of the Home Country membership that British Fencing retain under the 2002 Home Countries agreement. She explained that negotiations for a new scheme are on-going with the Home Countries. Whilst the new scheme is likely, it is financially prudent to ensure that in the event that the negotiations do not conclude, British Fencing can raise some additional funds from membership fees. Under the 2002 agreement the members were therefore given formal notice that the registration charge would be increased by 10% on the 1st January 2016.
President, Hilary Philbin, then presented BF Awards to a number of members for services to the sport followed by the presentation of the FIE Hall of Fame awards. See separate article for more detail.
Alex Newton, Performance Director, then gave a brief overview on the developments in the World Class Programme including an update on the squad increase in the men’s sabre programme to eight fencers. She also praised the hard work of coaches, Andrey Klyushin and Pierre Guichot.
David Teasdale, returned to close the meeting but before he did he thanked attending members, the Board, CEO and staff for their dedicated work. He also paid special tribute to Beazley, referencing the spectacular gala finale at Mansion House a few weeks ago. He referred to them as “brilliant partners and supporters” which was followed by a warm round of applause.
Once the formal part of the meeting was closed a discussion forum began where attending members raised a number of interesting points. The informal part of the meeting centered on two topics:
– the challenge of the unsustainable cost of delivering core membership services
– an update on the new membership scheme as is being currently discussed with the Home Countries.
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