When the ECF published the committeeâ€™s ruling on Kentâ€™s appeal, I was surprised by its representation of Kentâ€™s case. It was an odd mixture of direct quotation, paraphrase, and omission. The paraphrasing introduced a factual error which was not Kentâ€™s, and the omissions included a couple of sentences which Kent had thought quite important.
I mention it only now because Iâ€™ve been in correspondence with the ECF and was hoping for correction on their website. Two of the committee have agreed to this, but it waits on the agreement of the third and things went quiet several days ago. So Iâ€™m doing what I should have done in the first place.
Please be clear that this post is what its heading says it is. Nothing more.Kentâ€™s appeal 12.6.13 wrote: The Controller 10.6.13 ruled Kentâ€™s bd 12, James E Scholes, ineligible because not an ECF Member at the time of the match. Mr Scholesâ€™s renewal subscription, due on 2nd May, had not been paid. Kent appeals on two grounds.
It was surprising to hear of the Controllerâ€™s penalty, in view of an email received from him on the evening of the match. At that time he had cleared the team on a point of board order and congratulated us on our victory. This was, perhaps, impolitic if he had not yet checked the playersâ€™ Membership status. However, we accept that the captain erred. He had overlooked the possibility of a Membership expiring mid-season. The penalty was harsh in the circumstances, but this is scarcely grounds for appeal when a Controller is known to apply the rules strictly.
We then became aware that the Controller had, on the same day, applied retrospective penalties for non-Membership in a number of quarter final matches played three weeks earlier. Why he did so only then is not clear to us. None of the retrospective penalties affected the overall outcome of a match. But it happens that one of them was applied to the Kent Open team, in a case similar to that of James Scholes: a Gold Member whose subscription had lately lapsed.
This changes things. Had the Controller applied the quarter-final penalty at the correct time, the Kent captain would have been alerted to the possibility of mid-season expiries and would surely have avoided the second offence. As it is, the Controller has allowed him to offend twice before intervening - and the second offence has cost him dear.
It is hardly overstating things to say that the Controllerâ€™s inconsistency has contributed to Kentâ€™s offence. We call for Kentâ€™s reinstatement in the competition, and we think our case is strong.
That is our "moral" case. Here is our legal one.
Mr Scholes was an ECF Member. We refer to Article 4.4 of the Company:
A member shall cease to be a member:
â€¦ in any case, if any subscription or membership fee due to the Company remains outstanding for more than three months unless the Board otherwise determines
That this clause includes Direct Members is clear. The Direct Members Bye Laws specifically refer back to it. Thus Mr Scholes, whose subscription was well short of three months overdue, had not ceased to be a member.
It is always possible - we do not know - that the Board has "otherwise determined", modifying the effect of 4.4 in such a way that Mr Scholesâ€™s Membership had lapsed. If it can be shown that it has done so, and has clearly and prominently announced the fact, our point (2) must fall. Otherwise it is hard to see how rejecting this appeal can be consistent with the Articles of the Company.
Secretary, Kent CCA