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Changing Guard at the EKF

Posted March 16th 2009

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of Terry Wingrove and do NOT reflect or imply the agreement of any other party.

The AGM for the EKF was held on Sun (15th March) at the Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport, a good crowd of representitives from many Associations plus proxy votes from the absentees meant that nearly 80 Associations were in the hat this year. Following the Chairmans (Carl Lindley) annual report the meeting got down to the nitty-gritty as the resignation of the current Treasurer (John Gilliland) was debated, discusssed, disputed and denied but in the end JG made it clear that he could not carry on due to medical reasons so he was thanked for his efforts, but the board would not sign off on the accounts until a detailed breakdown was available to all the members to see where the money had been spent over the past year and the old board could sign off with clear minds. Board members were asked to declare how much remuneration from the EKF they had received in any form and each member stated to the meeting their own facts. Then the meeting turned to the election of new board members. After an interesting debate on the validity of the WKF statute that requires any WKF main board member to automatically sit on the national board where he resides, the meeting decided that Mike Dinsdale (WKF Treasurer) need not stand for election in the future and will have an automatic place on the EKF board.

Then the Chairman made a proposal to the meeting that the present board did not feel it had enough time over the past 12 months to be effective and therefore was offering itself “en bloc” for reelection with the suggested inclusion of the EKF Chief Referee, Terry Pottage. A number of objections were raised from many people and over the next hour this proposal bit the dust with all the candidates standing for election in a normal manner. I made my feelings very clear re the election of TP to the board and I asked for clarification of payments to TP from the EKF, we learned that TP has been promised an annual remuneration of £5000 as Chief Referee plus other fees, but other facts were left unanswered including the position and activities of UKKRO re the EKF. The Chairman stated that the outgoing board had decided that TP would have to give up his position as Chief Referee if he became a board member due to a conflict of interest but TP disputed this and eventually this was not resolved. Then came the election and with it some shocks:OUT went Les Cutting, John De Bono, Mike Billman, John Gilliland (did not stand for reelection) an IN came new faces, John Moreton, Willie Thomas, Brian Noble and Terry Pottage. When you consider the EKF is a company and as such had the very knowledgeable hands of John Gilliland guiding it as Company Secretary one can only wonder which member of the board will now take his place ???

Following the election there ensued a very volatile and emphatic debate of the famous “21.9” WKF rule which forbids any sporting contact with any non-WKF members. This argument went backwards and forwards with Mike Dinsdale repeatedly restating the WKF position that there was “no leeway whatsoever” re any contact with non WKF members. I explained that after 2 expensive court cases contesting this very point the WKF had spent a lot of money making its position as strong as possible and basically if you want to be a member of the club you must obey its rules. If you don’t like the rules you can try and change them from inside as a member not from outside and not being a member. In the end the members asked MD to get a specific answer to the fact that this rule applies to the five-yr-olds as much as the seniors to which MD agreed.

A unanimous vote of thanks was given to Debbie Sell for her untiring devotion to her job as secretary & Jel for the superb EKF website.

I have left my comments to last as I feel it is more important to state the facts first. A year ago I was very upbeat re the future of the EKF as a definite schedule of priorities seemed to be in place and people were giving their time and expertise to the EKF and making the EKF a priority over the own needs but over past few months I feel that the spectre of “KE(2005)Ltd “ is hovering over the EKF, now there seems to be various “agendas” that are margenalising the EKF so people can achieve their personal goals at the expense of the EKF. I reiterated to the meeting the need for transparency probably the most important factor for the establishment of the EKF and how over the past few months, all was not well in this field.

I also feel on a very material point of view that the EKF will be hard pressed to survive another 12 months without a significant cash injection as to my calculations the money going out over the next 12 months will far exceed the money coming in and the members I believe will not be prepared to increase their present fees to keep the EKF going. It was emphasized at the meeting the need for all the Associations to register ALL their members not just a select few.

2 1/2yrs ago with about 15 Associations, the 3 or 4 volunteer members that did most of the administration did it with enthusiasm and dedication now with 80 Associations the same people are loaded to breaking point (as we have seen with JG) and unless all of the board give 100% then the EKF will collapse from shear weight of the administration such as Child Protection, CRB, Insurance, Licence Returns, Squad Training Bookings, Travel and Hotel bookings for overseas competitions, WKF Compliance, Competition Promotion, Fund Raising, Company Compliance re EKF, Tax office liaison, Sport England and other Gov’t bodies liaison, Club Registers, Dan Registers, Coaching Registers, Compliance & Enforcement to mention a few. I think there will be a big loss to the EKF of the specialised field of Les Cutting as Child Protection Officer (he has resigned today as CPO officer) also the potential skills of John De Bono to follow on the company secretary work and we must not forget the very important role of Mike Bilman to represent the EKF on the BKF and European Karate Federation, all lost to the EKF.

I must say I am very very worried by the election of Terry Pottage to the board of the EKF this is a man who in my opinion has little integrity or no loyalty other than to his own agenda as has been proven over the past 2 ½ yrs, since the inception of the EKF, he has tried on every possible occasion to see what he can get financially from the EKF not what he can give. From my initial assistance to the English team that went to the World Championships in Tampere Finland in 2006 to the Junior Championships in France I have watched TP try and extract the last penny for his services while at the same time form UKKRO a “trade union” to virtually put a stranglehold on the refereeing and judging services for the EKF. TP also tried to get UKKRO registered with the BKF directly , why ? was it a need to circumvent the EKF.

I advise all the Association members of the EKF to pay full attention to the actions and activities of the EKF over the next few months and send important questions dierectly to the board of the EKF as soon as they see any problem.

On a last note I sat at the meeting yesterday and thought the EKF admin needs young blood not dinosaurs from a long lost generation, the old boys are good to draw on for experience but in this modern world a new young generation should be encouraged to come forward and make their own mistakes and bring a dynamic revitalisation to a worn out script that has gone through more than 40 years {BKCC, MAC, EKGB, KE(2005 Ltd), EKF} of fruitless bickering.

Terry Wingrove

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