Posted May 19th 2009
All opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily express the opinion of the EKF.
Are you looking for something to while away a week or two?? Or put you to sleep after a busy day, then look no further. Just settle down with a copy of the agenda for the Emergency General Meeting of the EKF; its about as interesting as reading a laundry list. Over the past 6 months I have watched the efficacy of the EKF decline steeply and I don’t like what I see, financial logjams, competition officials at each others throats, personal agendas, child protection law and constitutional law quoted by all and sundry to justify their position. Unfortunately I don’t see much about Karate. When the EKF was conceived it took a lot of time and energy to convince many of the Associations to try one more time to make a go of an English Governing body for Karate. After nearly a year it seemed to me that those backing the new group were mutually polarised and motivated by the need to make things work. Big groups,small groups seemed to tolerate each other and discuss their differences and I was happy to do my bit and help with funding. We had a steep learning curve and with the good team we had, progress could seen by all of us as the EKF came into its own.
What has gone wrong?? Basically the EKF does not have the financial ability to keep up with its ever increasing expenditure and is losing the trust of its grassroot members as it seems to sink into a sea of dissention with less transparency, combined with the mentality of some officials that they have some divine right to get paid as much as they can as opposed to how much can they give? Respect is earned not demanded. I believe the next 12 weeks will be critical regarding the future of the EKF. If the Emergency General Meeting collapses into a farce of accusations and recriminations with no solid conclusions then the EKF is doomed. I have no doubt that there are those who would welcome this regarding their own agendas. But these small-minded people must realise they will also bite the dust as a consequence of the failure of the EKF, as I believe the demise of the EKF will trigger the withdrawal of the WKF mandate from England and an almost impossible chance of getting it back for many years.
It’s easy to point fingers, but now is not the time instead we should try to clear up the misunderstandings and make decisions ASAP and not wait until decisions are forced onto the EKF.
The EKF needs to urgently address the fact that statistically if you look at all the money the EKF has received and then show where it has been spent it does show a disproportional amount being spent on a minority of athletes, namely those that are active in competition. I think that it is very difficult to ask all the Associations to register ALL their members if the EKF does little for the non-competitive elements. The EKF must lead by example and offer a full menu to all the forms of Karate.
I have looked very carefully at the structures of former English Karate Governing bodies, their reasons for failure and how in almost every case lack of funds caused by financial claims they could not sustain, were to blame. For example KE(2005)Ltd was drained of funds over its very short lifespan and I will publish information on my website after the EGM so that the EKF members can draw their own conclusions it makes very very interesting reading and will substantiate 100% who got what, when and how.
I think that there should be inducemets to sponsors to pay for particular sectors of the EKF such as the hiring of the halls for squad training or ref/judges courses so as as each division has its own float instead of this constant begging bowl that the EKF in its present form cannot afford.
Now to the awareness of “sell by date”, I think that a lot of top level of Karate administration in England (and in other countries) are dinosaurs well past their prime and yet cling on desperately to their little world and fiercely defend any changes. The time has come for a serious shakeout of officialdom in English Karate to attract new young blood otherwise English Karate will never move on and take a major role again in WKF affairs.
Finally the EGM agenda frightens me as I think the meeting will go on past 2012, with most people losing interest after the first 3 or 4 minutes of any topic as we saw at the AGM. I think this agenda alone will cause a lot of people to stay away from the EGM. The factions are “ganging-up” within the EKF, which they are entitled to do to try and get their slice of the action, but if they are not careful the body they are fighting over will go the way of the 7 other Governing bodies for English Karate over the past 45 years.
May 19th 2009
The opinions expressed in this article are solely the personal thoughts of Terry Wingrove and do NOT express the opinion or intentions of the EKF and/or its members.