ECF demands more money

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Roger de Coverly
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ECF demands more money

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:21 am

The anti Game Fee lobby were always moaning about how Game Fee would increase with the ECF's expenditure.

Well now it's happening with membership costs.

So for a club player the ECF wants an extra £ 2 a year, for a Congress player an extra £ 3 a year and for a FIDE rated player an extra £ 4 a year.

So unless the ECF was holding down the membership costs last year for political reasons, what's changed to require such increases this year?

See
http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=7226 for the agenda

There's a lobby that Bronze and Silver should be merged, which is the opposite of the direction inherent in the price rise. There is also a proposal that compulsory membership be abolished for participation in FIDE rated events and replaced by the notion of an automatic upgrade from Silver to Gold at the price of the difference. I'm not sure what happens if a Bronze level player takes part in a FIDE rated event.

John Townsend
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Re: ECF demands more money

Post by John Townsend » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:50 am

When the "game fee" (sometimes referred to as "chess tax") went up to £2, it constituted an increase then of over 200% (I forget the exact percentage). If I have understood correctly, a new increase of 25% is now being proposed. Meanwhile, inflation runs at 0%. How can it be justified?

Such a measure is likely to have a further inhibiting effect for certain categories of players; it hardly deserves the support of any organisation or person wishing to see more chess played in England.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF demands more money

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:47 pm

John Townsend wrote: How can it be justified?
The ECF asking for a higher individual fee is because either
(a) it wants or needs to spend more money
(b) it wants or needs to build up its reserves
(c) there are fewer players to collect from

As yet, the backing papers have yet to be published. It's very possible that the issue has already been discussed in Board meetings and at their strategy day. With the ECF's reluctance to disclose any of what goes on at these meetings, it is very likely that they will have a harder time pushing these increases through than if they had been more pro-active about preparing the ground.

Phil Neatherway
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Re: ECF demands more money

Post by Phil Neatherway » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:46 pm

Oh no, an extra £4 per year for my gold membership. That's something like 8p/week. I think I will give up chess immediately.

John Townsend
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Re: ECF demands more money

Post by John Townsend » Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:03 pm

Only a few years ago, the "chess tax" was 59p a game. If it now goes up to £2.50, I make the increase 323.73%. Some things go up faster than inflation ...

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: ECF demands more money

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:09 pm

Pay-to-play fees are very poor value for money compared to memberships, yes. This is a deliberate policy decision! The whole point of making pay-to-play fees as high as they are is to encourage all but the most inactive of players to become members of the ECF.

Angus French
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Re: ECF demands more money

Post by Angus French » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:44 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:Pay-to-play fees are very poor value for money compared to memberships, yes. This is a deliberate policy decision! The whole point of making pay-to-play fees as high as they are is to encourage all but the most inactive of players to become members of the ECF.
Though I don't recall this as being a policy agreed by ECF Council.

Last year the Finance Director proposed to increase basic Game Fee from £2 to £2.25 and this was defeated in a median-value card vote: £1 - 9 votes; £2 - 167; £2.25 - 74; £2.40 - 6; £2.50 - 1. Source: 2014 ECF Finance Council Meeting Minutes.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF demands more money

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:51 pm

Angus French wrote: Though I don't recall this as being a policy agreed by ECF Council.
Surely this was inherent when they put through the constitutional change of near compulsory membership by the device of reforming the Game Fee regulations? That enabled it to go through on only a 50% vote whereas a higher vote would have been needed if the other side of the membership coin, namely reforming voting rights had been implemented.

Steve Rooney
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Re: ECF demands more money

Post by Steve Rooney » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:59 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
John Townsend wrote: How can it be justified?
The ECF asking for a higher individual fee is because either
(a) it wants or needs to spend more money
(b) it wants or needs to build up its reserves
(c) there are fewer players to collect from

As yet, the backing papers have yet to be published. It's very possible that the issue has already been discussed in Board meetings and at their strategy day. With the ECF's reluctance to disclose any of what goes on at these meetings, it is very likely that they will have a harder time pushing these increases through than if they had been more pro-active about preparing the ground.
Quite right. The ECF needs to have a strong argument to justify this level of increase and given the vow of collective silence that appears to have been adopted by its directors, we may learn little before the meeting.

John Townsend
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Re: ECF demands more money

Post by John Townsend » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:12 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Pay-to-play fees are very poor value for money compared to memberships, yes. This is a deliberate policy decision! The whole point of making pay-to-play fees as high as they are is to encourage all but the most inactive of players to become members of the ECF.
It is news to me if the ECF aims intentionally to deliver services that are very poor value for money.

On 9 Oct. 2012, I had the impression from Sean Hewitt, then a ECF bigwig, that "game fee" and membership fees would go up with inflation:

John Townsend:
£12 now, but how much next year?
Sean Hewitt:
I think that's the same issue whether you fund the ECF through game fee or membership. There is inflation. Costs go up. Revenue has to go up to match.

David Pardoe
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Re: ECF demands more money

Post by David Pardoe » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:27 pm

There are a variety of options for `membership`, that might prove attractive in boosting numbers. Bulk options.. ie, group schools membership for say £4 per head...for players under 16yoa.. and maybe block county or even Union memberships for say £20 (Gold), £16 silver...

Also, a `pick and mix` option, allowing players to play a mixture of upto 12 graded games in any category for say £10 might work well..
I`d agree that for league players playing large numbers of games, the fee rise probably stacks up, and puts things on a realistic level.
But the Silver and Gold memberships probably merit a `hold` rating, maybe even lowering the gold standard slightly to reflect the fact that half those in gold don't really get many FIDE graded matches, certainly not those graded U160, if the 4NCL is anything to judge by. I`ve played over 20 games at an average of around ECF160, and haven't had a sniff at a FIDE grade. I`d be in favour of a block conversion of all grades for players who fall into the `A` or `B` class, and have gradings of over 140. This could immediately put hundreds of UK players on the FIDE map, with fair grades.
Yes, definitely offer `part year` membership, but maybe this could be better covered by single game fee charges of say £1.50 per game.
BRING BACK THE BCF

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF demands more money

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:47 pm

David Pardoe wrote: I`ve played over 20 games at an average of around ECF160, and haven't had a sniff at a FIDE grade
1697 according to
https://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=424501#

It might not be correct as the data at the FIDE site shows 3 duplicated 4NCL games. That's already been raised, so may have been corrected, for calculations anyway.

FIDE cut the number of games for an initial rating down to 5, but you need at least one point (or is it a half?)

David Pardoe
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Re: ECF demands more money

Post by David Pardoe » Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:49 pm

I`m going back over 5 years of matches in 4NCL North... Many of my opponents have no FIDE rating, so wouldn't be counted in the `official FIDE` stats... so I`m talking about players based on there ECF ratings and my respective scorings, which add up to a grade est of circa 160ish by my reckoning... not that it matters...
BRING BACK THE BCF

Richard Bates
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Re: ECF demands more money

Post by Richard Bates » Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:08 am

Frankly i think this is a pretty pathetic thread, full of innuendo that somehow the ECF is an organisation somehow out to enrich itself (for what purpose?), or anyway out to fleece the ordinary chessplayer. As well as the emotive use of the word "demands" when in this context (sadly) all the ECF Board actually have the power to do is "propose". One can only hope that the voting representatives at the Finance meeting will adopt a more mature attitude.

The fact is that the ECF can seek to vary (in this case increase) income sources for only four purposes.

1) on the basis that existing income levels are insufficent to fund current activities
2) to cover increases in costs due to general or specific inflationary pressures
3) to fund new areas of activity (or specifically increase spending on existing areas of activity)
4) to increase levels of reserves

IMO all and any of 1), 2) and 4) should be a matter of judgement left to the Finance Director. Anybody opposing increases proposed on those grounds must either identify areas on which they wish to spend less, or seek to hold the Finance Director accountable for his judgement at the appropriate time ie. when he comes up for re-election. It is obviously reasonable to oppose 3) if one disagrees with the proposed new/expanded areas of activity.

I would note that (in relation to 2) ) comments about inflation being "0%" should be treated with contempt. The ECF is a small enough organisation that the inflation on its various costs should be easily quantified without reference to broadbrush national indicators (how much does the ECF spend on fuel ?- the main reason why inflation is running at 0%).

I should also note, subject to the justification to be offered in explanation of the proposals, that there may be grey areas between 2 and 3, an obvious example being a desire to vary the salaries of the paid office staff.

One can only hope that the voting representatives recognise that they are being invited to vote on a package - a budget and income proposals designed to adequately fund that budget and do not pretend that the former is devoid from the latter.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF demands more money

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:27 am

Richard Bates wrote: somehow the ECF is an organisation somehow out to enrich itself (for what purpose?)
The purpose is obvious enough. The more money the ECF has under its control, the greater the powers of patronage of its directors and officials.

If the ECF wants to increase the tax it extracts from English chess players in 2015-16 as against 2014-15, it can be difficult to plead inflation, although it could justify that its experience is different. So it comes down to why it wants more income unless it's having to admit that demanding universal membership has had the net effect of reducing the number of players.

I think it's entirely justified to use "demand" in the thread title. Presumably motions to increase income (in this context costs to players) would not be tabled unless there was some expectation that they would be passed. Ben is to be commended on leaking the Agenda. It's the first that non-Council members and probably Council members will have heard of the proposed increases.

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