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Scottish Korfball Forum • View topic - The future of the BKA

The future of the BKA

Ideas, suggestions and discussion on Scottish Korfball Development; includes player, coach, referee, youth and club development.

Moderator: Ian Volante

The future of the BKA

Postby Nigel Cooper » Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:22 pm

The British Korfball Association, or BKA, is the SKA's predecessor and one of its two over-seeing governing bodies (the other being the International Korfball Federation). The BKA has been responsible for various "developmental" things such as coaching courses (including the immensely popular week-long summer korfball camps at Avon Tyrrell) ever since the SKA was formed. The organisation has come under increasing levels of criticism from areas outside of Scotland, however, and is currently undergoing major changes. Clive Minshull and myself (Nigel Cooper) have both been involved in ongoing discussions with the BKA, EKA and WKA (and possibly the BSKA - I can't quite remember!) to try and find or propose a mutually agreeable solution as to the BKA's future. This is not an easy task: there is much at stake both in terms of finances and personnel, and there are widely different opinions being expressed by the different interested parties. To be quite frank about it, Scotland is a very small player in British korfball. We do stand to lose a great deal if the BKA goes bust though, and I personally think that there are ways to save the BKA and benefit all British korfballers. It would be very good for the SKA to hear from its membership about this issue though, so if you have any opinions on the issue, we would love to hear from you - please either join the forum and let us know, or send me an email using development@scotlandkorfball.co.uk.

The most pressing reason to bring this issue up now is that the SKA has been invited to vote on the BKA's proposal to change the BKA's constitution, and to elect a new executive committee. Both the old BKA constitution and the newly proposed BKA constitution are available here:
Old =
New =
The current deadline for voting is December 11, 2013. Each of the three main NGB's have been asked to put forward one candidate for the executive committee. The SKA has proposed Clive Minshull as BKA Chair-elect, the WKA have proposed Pat Merton as BKA Secretary-elect, and the EKA have proposed Craig Gosling as BKA Treasurer-elect. I am not sure what we can do if we don't agree with any of these proposals, but I guess that we can just not accept them if we want. What do you think we should do?
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Re: The future of the BKA

Postby Nigel Cooper » Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:33 pm

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Re: The future of the BKA

Postby Arnold » Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:58 pm

I think we're pretty much in agreement that the new BKA should no longer be a governing organisation in between the IKF and the EKA+WKA+SKA, but a cooperation or joint venture between the three NGOs. Having said that, I'm still not convinced we actually need something as official, or whether we could be equally well-served by a half-yearly chair's forum.

Secondly, I think the student-tiers should be called 'committees' and not 'associations' (hence the C's instead of A's), because IMO an association is governed by its members, i.e. the student clubs, whereas a committee is an integral part of and governed by the NGO, i.e. the SKA. An association will have its own accounts, its own AGMs etc., whereas a committee simply reports to the SKA and the finances are managed through the SKA.
For England, the situation may be slightly different having more than a dozen student clubs, but for Scotland, where we only have two student clubs, I think this should be coordinated by the SKA, also because in Scotland, student korfball and U23 korfball are very synonymous. And as you already alluded in your postings, the BSKA seems to be a bit in a world of their own. I have never really liked this disconnection/misconnection between the BSKA and the BKA/EKA.

A few years ago, when I was SKA Chair, we set up an SSKC, with two representatives from Ed Uni, two from St Andrews, and one SKA member. I think we went for the treasurer due to the financial handling of attending a large tournament in Holland, which was the main driver for setting up such a committee.
Last edited by Arnold on Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The future of the BKA

Postby Nigel Cooper » Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:21 pm

Excellent - thanks for that, Arnold. I had got my wires crossed, thought the S & C abbreviations stood for "schools" and "clubs", and consequently couldn't quite follow the drift of your first post. I get it now though - thank you. What do the Scottish students think about these ideas? (That's an open question, to any students who may be reading).
I did think of one other advantage of keeping the BKA going, over and above just having an NGB chair's meeting. When we set up Dundee, we applied for money and assistance from the local council, as well as from the Big Lottery fund. One of the first hurdles in getting Council support was that it couldn't be made available to clubs playing sports that were not recognised by SportsScotland. Korfball is currently too small (by far!) to achieve SportsScotland recognition. However, Dundee got around the problem by proving that our NGB (the SKA) was affiliated to the BKA, and that the BKA was recognised by the UK Sports Council. Both Dundee's City Council, and SportsScotland, were happy to accept this as proof that korfball was a recognised (British) sport, even though it didn't count for specific recognition by SS. More importantly, we got all of the money and support that we were looking for. (So let's hear it for the BKA!)
More seriously, I do think that it's a really close call as to whether we should actually bother to save the BKA, and I am happy for Scotland to be swayed either way in the upcoming voting process. (My own personal advice is obviously going to be in favour of trying the new system out, rather than scrapping the BKA altogether. But the voting process is a bit weird in itself - there is no specific option to scrap the BKA anyway, just a proposal to change the constitution and elect a new exec committee. If we vote not to do that, I guess we just move on to another stage and wait for someone else to propose something else, like scrapping it).
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Re: The future of the BKA

Postby Cdowd » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:26 pm

I think from the point of view of St. Andrews the BKA has been tremendously helpful because it provides the coaching lessons at Avon Tyrell, which is how we maintain our limited supply of qualified coaches and referees. I think I can safely say that without Avon Tyrell the level at which we play as a team would probably deteriorate significantly over the next 3 years. I don't want to claim to speak for the team as a whole as this has only been briefly discussed with a few people, but that would be our primary interest. I also can't say I fully undertstand the proposals at hand or the impact they would have on the coaching courses offered, but If they make avon tyrell less accessible, I don't think we would be happy about that.
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Re: The future of the BKA

Postby Michael Nicholson » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:07 pm

I have the second SKA vote on this (Nigel has the first) so I thought I should articulate my own thinking. I think it's worth noting that I came into this at a very late stage; the Constitution was written and officers actually nominated before I knew about any of it. Therefore I've not been privy to all of the discussions that came before. My views are therefore not at all fixed, although I believe I am more strongly in favour of retaining the BKA than Nigel is.

I am of the view that the BKA is not, as some put it, a superflous layer of extra government, but a necessary legal entity. Sports governance in the United Kingdom is a complicated thing, largely due to the existence of governance (and teams) devolved to the nations, rather than operating as a Team GB. In an ideal world, things would map nicely (and if that meant a Team GB but no Team Scotland, then so be it). However, we're not in an ideal world. We devolved from the BKA, I believe, at the request (or at the very least, the informal urging) of the IKF in order to boost the number of "countries" participating in korfball. While the IKF are willing to recognise that (and other sports have done the same), the IOC and other international sporting bodies are not. We are never going to play as Team Scotland at the Olympics or (more realistically) at the World Games (unless Scotland declares independence). We must therefore come to a solution which allows us to have our devolved governance (and that ship has now sailed) but also protects Scottish and Welsh interests in GB activities. We cannot allow ourselves to get into a situation where England is synonymous with Great Britain in korfball (as is the case with Scotland and Great Britain in curling, for example). We might not be in a position to provide many high level Scottish players for national teams at the moment, but that time will come, and we need to have a structure that allows for it. I therefore believe that the BKA needs to continue to exist to facilitate this (whether now or in 30 years). Competitive collaboration will have to come into play at some point, and I would rather have the current BKA, with a history and a precedent to refer to, running the show than a newly-created body designed only for the purpose.

Arnold proposes devolving the BSKA to the nations. I can see his point, but I disagree with it. Again, korfball is managed at a British level for student activity. It is a BUCS sport, but not an SSS sport (and will not be an SSS sport for a long time). Therefore the Scottish clubs need to be involved in the organisation (unless you propose Scottish clubs dropping out of BUCS altogether- I couldn't see either Scottish student club surviving the drop in Sports Union funding that such a move would bring). The BSKA is not an official governing body, in the legal sense. It operates more as a competitions organiser and, in some ways, a pressure group. I have no objections to any body organising club competitions provided the clubs involved obtain consent (which is tacit for BUCS), and I therefore have no issue with the BSKA continuing to operate as it does, although I would like to see more communication between them and the SKA.

Beyond that, I have no really strong opinions, but it is enough to persuade me to vote to continue the BKA as it is. I don't view what has been proposed as perfect, but it is enough for now to continue with, and to allow a BKA to get on with doing things, where it's been stagnant lately.
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Re: The future of the BKA

Postby Gavin Legg » Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:00 pm

Not sure if this is to late, but anyway here's my thoughts. Really it all boils down to what's in it for us and does it cost us. If it costs us nothing but a little bit of time, then leave it as it is. If it costs us, do we get at least what we put in back in the form of services? I don't know the answer to this as I don't know the funding position of the BKA. In terms of coaching courses, the EKA will in time be delivering these rather than the BKA, so that is going to change anyway (do the BKA still subsidize Avon Tyrell?).
I would suggest that before anything is signed & agreed, there should be a governing document that outlines exactly what the BKA is for, what it's relationship to the other governing bodies are, what its funding position is, what its commitments are. Someone (I'm guessing the EKA) are driving this change-what for and why now? I would have my doubts that it is being done for altruistic reasons, so what are the real ones? This sounds pretty negative, but given there is a real lack of trust from EKA members of the EKA itself, I would personally not trust them enough to agree anything without full discussion & written agreements. What worries me is not so much us having to deal with GB team issues, more us having to take on costs of it without any real benefits to us.
All in all, I guess my thought is don't agree anything now-get proposals and a clear position of what the BKA is to become, then given this is a long term commitment for the SKA, put it out to the member clubs to discuss & vote on. Do not be driven to a quick decision to satisfy any other governing body.
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Re: The future of the BKA

Postby Gavin Legg » Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:09 pm

Re BSKA v SSKA, at the moment there is not any real need for the SSKA. The student World Cup & European university championships no longer exist, so there would be no competitive element to it . The BSKA matches up with BUSC, so makes sense to retain, though the BSKA need to update their rules/regs to reflect the different nations (eg under BSKA competition regs, all players need to be registered with the EKA-not possible for players from Scotland).
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