Council Minutes 2021-07-23

BGA Council Meeting 2021-07-23

Held at: ZOOM conference call

Meeting started: 19:30


  • Andrew Ambrose-Thurman (AAT)
  • Mohammed Amin (MA)
  • Gerry Gavigan (GG)
  • Toby Manning (TM)
  • Matt Marsh (MM)
  • Peter Rootham-Smith (PRS)
  • Stephen Tweedie (ST)
  • Richard Wheeldon (RW)
  • Colin Williams (CW)

Note - actions raised during this meeting and action updates are recorded on the outstanding actions list rather than directly in these minutes

The agenda item discussing AAT's MBA was deferred until the next meeting as due to personal circumstances AAT did not have time to prepare for it.

1) Apologies

There were no apologies for absence

2) introductions for new Members

MA and ST introduced themselves to Council, and existing Council members made themselves known to MA and ST.

3) Minutes of Previous Meetings [2021-06-04]

Minutes of June 4th were approved. It was noted that MA had declined the chairmanship of the Governance Committee, and that position was still held by TM.

4) Committee Reports and Papers

4.1 President's Report

TM said that his time recently had largely been taken up preparing for the EGF AGM on the 27th (on which more later in this meeting). No questions were raised on his report.

4.2 Website & Technology Committee

CW confirmed that the target date for the website upgrade to Drupal 8 is still July 27th. There should be limited impact on what users experience.

The revised Terms of Reference were discussed briefly with a request for any comments to be sent offline.

The strategic principle of a move towards more hosted solutions was introduced and gained general agreement. In addition a strategy of favouring standard solutions as opposed to bespoke software was agreed.

RW confirmed our standing cost for the current server was £43.20 per month. There was no opposition to adopting a strategy that necessitated an increase in that level of expenditure. CW confirmed there were no firm proposals yet, but given that assurance the Committee would continue down the path they had started on.

It was noted that the committee are creating an inventory of software and technology products that the BGA use, which was welcomed. in addition the committee were asked to create an inventory of the data we hold.

4.3 Publications Committee

PRS reported that the next journal, in full colour, is on course for August 1st.

It was noted that the regular contributors had not been contacted to let them know that full colour is now available. RW suggested waiting until after the first new-style journal was successful. PRS agreed to pass the message on to Pat Ridley.

4.4 Youth Committee

TM reported that the summer camp at Caythorpe is going ahead in August, with Tony Atkins running the teaching. 22 young players will be attending. MM asked for clarification about the split of responsibility for Covid management between Caythorpe and the BGA. TM could not provide an answer and agreed to contact Caythorpe to discuss it urgently.
Planning is in place to send a team to the European Youth event in Czechia next year.
In the Autumn an inter-european tournament for teams of three will be running again, which the Committee is recruiting teams for.

The accuracy of the current list of teachers/schools on the website was discussed. TM said the Youth Committee would review it, and either delete it or update it.

4.5 Treasurer's Report

The investment strategy discussion is a separate agenda item and will be covered later. There were no other questions on the report.

4.6 Clubs and Membership Report

AAT apologised for preparing a short report, though it turned out to be the most colourful and diagram filled of all the reports.

Of the clubs he has been able to contact so far about one third have started meeting again, the vast majority of clubs have been meeting online throughout the pandemic, and several clubs plan to have a hybrid system in the future with both online and face-to-face meetings. AAT agreed to produce a small article with that information for the BGJ.

GG provided a recent example where an out of date club website had proved a barrier to a possible new player. AAT said he was considering how to classify clubs into those who are especially welcoming to new players.

MA suggested a basic principle is that if a club is to be listed on the BGA website, we have the right to set some criteria they are required to meet.

4.8 Tournaments Committee

MM has contacted 'The Settlement' in Letchworth to discuss holding the BGA Congress there in late September or early October. He is speaking to other tournament organisers to see what else may be happening in the Autumn.

It was noted the Event Calendar on the website was still quite empty. GG agreed to update it with events likely to be happening at the LGC.

4.9 Hyper-Japan Event

GG provided an update on his successful series of lectures introducing Go to newcomers. The possibility of refining them for re-use later was discussed.

5) EGF AGM - Consideration of our Position

There was a broad ranging discussion covering the performance and financial situation of the EGF and the EGF Board. There was a debate on the best way of making the EGF responsive to our wishes. To achieve this we would need to have a number of conversations with other key countries well in advance of future EGF meetings. There was a suggestion that we should write a strategy paper on what we would like the EGF to become, in parallel with a strategy document for the BGA.

The lack of notice or advertising about the elections for the Executive was a cause for concern, and a question will be asked at the AGM about how members should be notified about vacancies and elections.

It was agreed that:

a) we will support GG's nomination for the Iwamoto Foundation. If GG is not elected we will support Dominique Cornuejols, then Gleb Cherepanov
b) we will accept the previous year's minutes
c) we will accept the discharge of the Board and Auditors report
d) TM will discuss with the Youth Committee whether to support the EGF Youth proposals
e) We expect to vote against the budget, depending on answers received before and during the debate, and what the final budget looks like.

It seems strange to vote on the budget before a vote on membership fees - we should ask for the discussion on fees to come before the budget.

6) European Women's Championship 2021

GG reported that Martin Stiassny had made an intervention on Sunday, and as a result GG is not sure what is happening now. We can be confident though that it will not be a face to face tournament in early September. The options appear to be early-November in London - possibly a two day tournament to avoid school days, or to move it online.

We agreed our preference is for a face to face two day tournament in London on the first weekend of November, which will be our statement to the EGF.

7) BGA Investment Strategy

RW reported that current interest rates for cash can be considered to be zero. A discussion followed on whether we should invest in equity based funds, and if so how much. To make that decision we decided we need to know what we are intending to use the money for, and when.

After a prolonged discussion and a vote it was agreed not to put investments into equity funds, and that our investment strategy should be decided once we have a BGA strategy in place which included medium-term spending plans.

CW (probably rather stupidly) volunteered to own the problem of getting a strategy in place, initially through the use of a 'Strategy Day' session.

7) AOB

MM enquired about a timeline update from the Governance Committee for the CLG proposal at the next AGM. MA gave a verbal update, and TM promised a timeline would be produced.

8) Date of next meeting

There was some discussion around online or face to face meetings. It was agreed that online would be the major method (including for next time) but that occasional face to face meetings are important for team building and longer discussions.

As Friday's are not good for everyone, CW will issue a 'Doodle' for the last part of September.

The meeting closed at roughly 22:30.

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