Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Richard Bates
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Richard Bates » Wed May 15, 2019 8:14 am

I’m speculating, but I suspect that the opposition to revealing amounts spent on appearance fees (even on a gross basis) is not actually primarily because of a concern that it would lead to claims from external observers that they are too high and should be cut.

Possibly more likely is that the players themselves might not know what each other are getting, and publishing a gross figure would make it fairly easy for them to work out. Probably Malcolm negotiates fees on an individual rather than a collective basis (it’s not like the England football team where there’s a flat fee for playing).

Also, or alternatively, it would also potentially affect their negotiating position in the wider competitive market, which would make sense if the suggestion that most would make themselves unavailable (if accurately reported) comes from. Who knows, it might even reveal that they are prepared to accept lower that their “usual” fee when representing England, which in itself could have a knock on impact with other organisers.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Michael Farthing » Wed May 15, 2019 8:45 am

If any of Richard's arguments had been presented to Council by Malcolm they would undoubtedly have carried some weight and might have produced an interesting discussion. Howerver, none of these arguments were presented.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed May 15, 2019 9:29 am

Angus French wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 3:30 pm
what I was after: a breakdown, for both teams (Open and Women’s), showing expenditure on travel, accommodation, food, coaching and appearance fees (not individual fees but total team spends on appearance fees). As I said: the request was approved by Council.
How much of that did you actually get? I'd suspect they wouldn't want to give a split between Open and Women's expenditure, but it could be informative if even the consolidated total by expense category was available. Would you expect the gross figures or the net financed by the ECF? I believe some of the training costs were sponsored.

J T Melsom
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by J T Melsom » Wed May 15, 2019 9:57 am

My reaction to reading the Bronze Member's representative's critique of the Gold Member's report was to worry about the health of the author rather than the ECF. How does anybody find the time? On a more serious note we've discussed in the past the way attendees at Council take differing views as to whether they are representatives or delegates and the freedom that affords. I've rarely heard any discussion at all about ECF matters at my club, so would be interested to know how many Bronze members actually expressed support for Angus' line of inquiry on the issue of international spend. Its not his fault if the numbers are not higher, and other attendees at Council may well assume support rather than actively canvas it. But it is informative.

Sorry whilst there is a risk of Council attendees being obsessive rather than representative I've now seen the posts suggesting Angus was simply pursuing a query agreed by Council as worth putting to the Board. That's a larger groundswell of support than I'd appreciated. I've included this paragraph as a partial correction.

NickFaulks
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by NickFaulks » Wed May 15, 2019 5:23 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:29 am
Angus French wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 3:30 pm
what I was after: a breakdown, for both teams (Open and Women’s), showing expenditure on travel, accommodation, food, coaching and appearance fees (not individual fees but total team spends on appearance fees). As I said: the request was approved by Council.
How much of that did you actually get?
To be clear, everyone at the meeting knows that the split of appearance fees was not supplied. I never thought it would be ( how would it look if the women got nothing? ) but the information had been promised. This was a promise that the Board must have made in full knowledge that it could not and would not be kept.

I expect it would be unfair to criticise Malcolm for claiming that he had answered Angus' question, because it is not in his nature to pay attention to such details. As regular travellers to Council meetings are aware, he treats these occasions as PMQs, so whatever question is asked, the one to which he responds is "does the ID agree that we should all be very proud of our national team and that he himself is doing a terrific job?". To which, of course, the answer is in the affirmative, with dark suspicions raised regarding the motives of anyone who might have the temerity to wish to discuss the matter further.

It is much more disappointing that the Gold member representative, at the end of his report, has been persuaded to repeat this untruth in the context of a personal attack upon his Bronze counterpart. Roger has been a respected figure in English chess for a very long time and has no reputation either for getting facts wrong or for personal meanness. The prose is not even in his normal, sober style - anyone who knew no better could be forgiven for thinking that they were reading an editorial in CHESS magazine.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed May 15, 2019 5:59 pm

"Possibly more likely is that the players themselves might not know what each other are getting, and publishing a gross figure would make it fairly easy for them to work out. Probably Malcolm negotiates fees on an individual rather than a collective basis (it’s not like the England football team where there’s a flat fee for playing). "

I think you are right.

"Roger has been a respected figure in English chess for a very long time and has no reputation either for getting facts wrong or for personal meanness."

I wish I had met this saintly figure.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed May 15, 2019 6:00 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 5:23 pm
I never thought it would be ( how would it look if the women got nothing? ) but the information had been promised.
The thought did briefly cross my mind that the Women's team got no fees, but that cannot be the case as that would be a case of false accounting. I believe I am right that it is not permissible to amalgamate 'zero' items together with other items to hide the fact that an item is zero. Maybe those with more experience with accounting could confirm that.

More likely is that some people (players and coaches) got more in fees than others and the accounting is done in such a way as to obscure that. Most people would accept that explanation if this was honestly communicated. What is frustrating is the lack of clear communication about this.

Ian Thompson
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Ian Thompson » Wed May 15, 2019 7:22 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 5:23 pm
Roger has been a respected figure in English chess for a very long time and has no reputation either for getting facts wrong ...
I think there's a good chance his pre-Finance Council meeting e-mail to Gold members was factually inaccurate in his comparisons of the ECF, the French Chess Federation, the German Chess Federation and one other federation (not Spain) whose identity I've now forgotten. If it wasn't wrong, it was certainly misleading through omitting important information.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Wed May 15, 2019 7:36 pm

Mick Norris wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:51 am
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 11:24 pm
Or perhaps there should be a line beyond which matters remain confidential. Ultimately the job of council is
Well, there's a divergence of opinion on that; however, if Council passes a motion, then the relevant ECF Director has to comply, and that is what Angus is saying
And what action is taken against a volunteer director if he chooses not to comply? Dock his wages perhaps. That assumes that Malcolm has categorically refused to comply.

Bronze members may be sceptical about how much of their money is spent financing international chess (I point I understand, although I don't agree with it) but are they demanding this exact breakdown of fees? And if not, why is one of the bronze membership representatives so obsessed with it?
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Michael Farthing
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Michael Farthing » Wed May 15, 2019 8:14 pm

Equally, why is an individual gold member so obsessed to keep it secret? I'm sorry, Andrew, but you are getting very angry about a representative expecting to be told about how his constituents money is being spent and more to the point how the executive of the ECF is implementing policies determined by the sovereign body of the ECF. The essential point here is that how much it is appropriate to spend on appearance fees is not an issue of micro management but an issue of principle. We do not allocate a budget and then say, "spend it how you like". The budget should indicate not only how much money is required but also what it is required for.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed May 15, 2019 8:22 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:14 pm
The essential point here is that how much it is appropriate to spend on appearance fees is not an issue of micro management but an issue of principle.
I understand that the appearance fees were disclosed in aggregate, split only by event, not by team. A reasonable conjecture would be that nearly all of it went on the Open team, given that most of the Women's team would regard themselves and expected to be treated as amateurs. There are believed to be appearance fees or equivalent in paid for accommodation at the British championships. Most of that would go to male grandmasters.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Wed May 15, 2019 8:59 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:14 pm
Equally, why is an individual gold member so obsessed to keep it secret? I'm sorry, Andrew, but you are getting very angry about a representative expecting to be told about how his constituents money is being spent and more to the point how the executive of the ECF is implementing policies determined by the sovereign body of the ECF. The essential point here is that how much it is appropriate to spend on appearance fees is not an issue of micro management but an issue of principle. We do not allocate a budget and then say, "spend it how you like". The budget should indicate not only how much money is required but also what it is required for.
I'm sorry Michael but my question was whether the bronze members Angus represents are actually asking for this information. To repeat myself I think the question of whether ECF members are being taxed to pay for international chess is a valid one. However professional chess players expect to be paid for their services and the negotiation as to what those services are worth is a confidential one. Presumably if Malcolm reverted to sending `emaciated travesties` of teams there would be outrage.

And I'm still at a loss as to why Malcolm should be hauled over the coals in the interests of scrutiny while the circumstances of Angus resigning from the board, then the governance committee, then as voting register officer is somehow irrelevant and off limits.
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Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Wed May 15, 2019 9:01 pm

And I'll add that I am yet to see one positive proposal as to how ECF members' money should be spent.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed May 15, 2019 9:04 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:01 pm
And I'll add that I am yet to see one positive proposal as to how ECF members' money should be spent.
It's already spoken for to finance the Office and International teams.

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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by JustinHorton » Wed May 15, 2019 9:37 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:59 pm
.
And I'm still at a loss as to why Malcolm should be hauled over the coals in the interests of scrutiny while the circumstances of Angus resigning from the board, then the governance committee, then as voting register officer is somehow irrelevant and off limits.
Because, in statement of the obvious news, one of these things involves an official of a membership organisation being asked about expenditure of the members' money at a meeting designed for the purpose, and the other involves you demanding to know why a private individual took personal decisions that are nothing to do with you.
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