SimonGlad this is being discussed. A few points re what has gone before, and a few other things to think about...
Clearly the ECF isn't bankrupt. Forget legacies, forget the BCM. It will always be able to raise enough Game Fee to cover its costs, providing there is a competent CFO, because people will pay; even if they don't know what they are paying for, the fear of not having what they don't know they are paying for will ensure that they pay. And Council will always vote it through, even if they rarely understand or even seek the opinion of those they claim to represent. Maybe things are different now.
But the ECF is bankrupt of ideas. You need a CEO who is capable of raising funds from new sources. You are not going to pay a CEO Â£100k a year (which is cheap in my opinion) and be happy if the result is an increase of Game Fee to cover the increased salary bill - even if (s)he does lick the stamps as well. People can make money out of chess - maybe not a lot - be it from playing, writing, coaching, etc. so there is a market. You just need someone who can work out - professionally, for a change - how to exploit it.
Stewart, I agree that 1972 would have been a good time to do this, but you can't take a 1972 model and apply it to 2009. It is a different world, there are all sorts of new sources of income which weren't around 10 years ago, let alone 35. The problem is that the worthy, but unpaid and therefore often unmotivated, directors and officials of the ECF don't know how.
So I say again - accept what you have and don't expect anything better, or take a risk.
Think about the downside of the risk. If it doesn't work, then after a year, you sack your CEO and Council reluctantly agrees that it needs to transfer some Robinson Trust money to cover the deficit. So you lose some of a windfall but you still have interest on Â£500k for projects and a decent capital sum in the bank.
Then think of the upside. The more parochial will see Game Fee abolished as the major achievement. You may get more international tournaments, more professionals, more visiting players. More exposure, more newspaper columns, more kids learning and wanting to be chess players, more opportunities for coaching, more chess in schools (and a requirement for many more sets). More sponsors - they like professional administrators. Recognition as a sport, for what that may be worth. A chess culture. Chess in cafes. Professional and semi-professional leagues - yes, I know there is one, but the ECF doesn't appear to be involved now and certainly wasn't when it was set up. Maybe back to a decent chess-playing nation rather than also-rans. Those of us who were around in 1972 will remember what happened afterwards. Ideas of an English GM were fanciful then yet, in 5 years (Leonard, John, I am ready to be corrected) we had three, maybe four?
What are the odds? I don't know. But isn't it worth Â£100k of money you didn't know you were going to get to find out?
No prizes, again, for guessing what the ECF will do.
You seem wholly out of touch with what is happening today. The ECF is working on many of these things. Not least, the ECF arranged to borrow Â£100k from the John Robinson Trust last year to finance support for the Chess for Schools programme and for the follow-up. This initiative is intended to generate the next chess boom. Integral to the plans is the objective to establish new income streams for the ECF.
There are at least two other avenues to provide new income currently being explored.