Appeal for Board Support

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Alex McFarlane
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Appeal for Board Support

Postby Alex McFarlane » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:49 pm

The following is a letter I sent to all ECF Board members bar one who has asked me not to communicate with him. To say I am disappointed with the ECF's handling of statements made by Keene and the Sunday Times would be an understatement. The accusations made could have serious repercussions on the ability of one of us in particular as a career could be endangered.


Open letter to all members of the ECF Board

Dear Board Member,

In early August the Sunday Times and Ray Keene via his Times_Chess ‘tweets’ published a series of allegations against a number of us involved in running the British Championship. These allegations involved calling various officials homophobic, bigots and brutish as well as stating that we should be the subject of a police investigation. There has been no official statement by the ECF in condemnation of Keene or the Times Group for these remarks. On 23rd August Keene wrote that he stood by his comments.

For one of the officials in particular the allegations can have severe career threatening implications. Pupils now regularly ‘google’ teachers (as could a potential employer). Under these circumstances we believe that the more positive statements that are out there the better to effectively minimise the damage done by the negative ones. Unlike the old newspaper reports these are no longer tomorrow’s fish and chip wrappers.

In this open letter I call upon Board members and any other officials to make known their views on the matter.

Should anyone ‘working’ for the ECF be subjected to this treatment without the public support of the organisation in condemning the usage of such terms?

I have gone to the Press Complaints Commission about the Sunday Times article and the complaint is being investigated. The ST, in an attempt to justify its story, has made claims in its defence which I will not go into at this point. I sincerely hope that these claims prove to be false.

In the absence of significant and public support from the ECF Board I will need to consider any future involvement with the ECF. But for the location of the 2012 Championships I probably would have already walked away.

It is with considerable sorrow that I consider it necessary to make this public appeal to the Board to either demonstrate its support or to tell me that my services are no longer required.

Alex McFarlane

GraemeTelBuckley
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Postby GraemeTelBuckley » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:25 pm

Hi

It might not be of much consolation to you because I am nothing to do with the Board, and I have not followed what has gone on with Ray Keene, but as a player I find that you and Lara have controlled the British Championships excellently whenever I have played in recent years. Indeed Alex, you were also the controller at the Classic when I last played which again ran smoothly. In short, I am very confident in your abilities and in my opinion it gives an event an extra 'selling point' if you and Lara are on the control team. I hope the Board feel able to sing your praises too.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Postby Carl Hibbard » Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:47 am

It does sound like you are being hung out to dry Alex which is rather sad if that is the case?
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Postby Alex McFarlane » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:06 am

Can I thank all those who have expressed support. It does provide comfort.

Lara and I are preparing for the Northumberland Congress which takes place this weekend so may not be able to reply to any other emails of support.

Due to ECF Board confidentiality I cannot currently comment much more than I have at the present time (whilst not on the Board I have been made aware of various things).

The statement made by Andrew Farthing does now (as of yesterday) appear on the ECF website
http://www.englishchess.org.uk/?s=Statement

Without offence to Carl having to direct people from the Observer and Times to this site rather than the official one was less than satisfactory.

Perhaps this is the first signs of progress!!

John Upham
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Postby John Upham » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:21 am

Alex,

What was the reaction / response of the various members of the organising team to the appearance of GMRDKOBE?

Was CJ briefed on the nature of the past / current relationship between the BCF / ECF and said guest?

Was he welcomed by the team with open arms and warm words of greeting?

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Postby Alex McFarlane » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:38 am

I cannot comment authoritatively for other members of the team as to reaction to the Keene invitation. I was not aware of it until I saw mention on this Forum. I do not believe David Welch was involved either though he may have known shortly before I did.

I have no idea if Mr De Mooi was briefed about Mr Keene. I would have thought that a visit to wikipedia would have given sufficient information on his past. They would appear to be friends of course judging by various tweets.

I do know that I received complaints from office staff about Mr Keene demanding quiet when he was making/receiving phone calls of considerable duration whilst in the office. I do not know the nature of these phone calls nor if the ECF were compensated for any calls made or even if that was deemed necessary.
I did attempt to placate our volunteers. Following the statements made by Mr Keene and his lack of an apology for them I would certainly be less accommodating in future!

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Postby Jonathan Bryant » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:10 am

John Upham wrote:Was CJ briefed on the nature of the past / current relationship between the BCF / ECF and said guest?


It is a matter of public record that CJ didn't discuss RDK's invitation with the ECF prior to the British Championships

http://streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.c ... y-ecf.html

There would therefore have been no direct opportunity to 'brief' him as to the past 'goings on' as such. That said, the CJ_RDK association is far from new, so the ECF has had plenty of time to have a word if it had wanted to.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Postby Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:24 am

Alex McFarlane wrote: I was not aware of it until I saw mention on this Forum.


Justin Horton picked up a twitter comment by the Times correspondent himself and posted a link. That was on the Sunday morning, the day before the official opening.

E Michael White
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Postby E Michael White » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:26 am

Boards of amateur organisations usually make a foul up of this sort of thing and make an even bigger one trying to sort matters out later.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Postby Stewart Reuben » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:59 pm

'The ECF Board does not intend commenting further on these matters until the Press Council Complaint issue is resolved.

To remind everybody, we issued a press statement on 8 August:
'For our part we wish to reaffirm our confidence in CJ de Mooi as President of the ECF and Lara and all the administrative team of the British Chess Championships, who did a magnificent job as always.'

Stewart Reuben
ECF Marketing Director
Last edited by Stewart Reuben on Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Postby Alex McFarlane » Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:30 pm

I object strongly to Stewart's post and have already complained officially about it.

No agreement was made by all parties about public posting. I agreed verbally not to tweet until I had heard from the PCC. I then confirmed in an email that I would not tweet until a decision had been made. This was an unfortunate mis-statement of my position which i feel should have been queried. However I did not tweet again until I had heard that the case was ongoing which is a decision of sorts. I repeat, at no point did I ever state anything about a public posting.

Indeed twice recently I gave the ECF CEO the courtesy of seeing what I was about to post. He did not say that I had agreed not to post. He pointed out that I would be breaking confidentiality with one proposed posting - as it was the result of a motion I had put to the Board I had not considered it to be confidential, but I obeyed his request. It seems that Board confidentiality does not appear to apply to Mr Reuben who can, albeit wrongly, quote Board decisions.

Does this mean I am no longer bound by confidentiality either?

In fairness to Stewart he does seem to be having a go at everyone involved. I quote from his Marketing Director report.
"One of the most difficult was the incident at the British Chess Championships Prizegiving. Had the Marketing Director been consulted initially there would have been no problem."
I am glad that Mr Reuben believes that the President as well as tweeting his intentions on the Friday night should have contacted him. It is a small crumb of comfort to us Stewart but thank you for it.

I would finish by saying that the Board statement made does NOT allude to the statements made by Mr Keene which is what I am currently seeking.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Postby Stewart Reuben » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:24 pm

I made an error earlier, for which I apologise. I have now edited the statement.

Stewart Reuben
Last edited by Stewart Reuben on Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Postby Alex McFarlane » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:14 pm

Thank you Stewart. I'm sure that I will get the personal apology fairly soon.

Since you acted so quickly I shall only be seeking minimal damages :twisted:

The Northumberland Congress has started well with increased numbers.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Postby Alex McFarlane » Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:25 pm

AMcFChess would seem to be it.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Postby Alex McFarlane » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:19 pm

Still no ECF Director or other official willing to come out and offer public support over the allegations made.

We have however had one Director suggest that we should employ the services of a PR company!!! I'm not kidding, that suggestion was made. I assume that the funding to do so will come out of the Marketing budget. :lol:

Lots of support again this weekend.


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