March England Athletics (EA) issued its 'Affiliation
Guidelines' stating that it '……. requires the registration of a club and its
members'. The initial affiliation fee for each club is £50 with an additional
£3 fee for 'each competing member aged 11 or over'. The latter fee will rise to
£5 in 2008 and further increases are likely in future years to pay for the
staffing and other costs involved in operating the undemocratic bureaucracy that
is England Athletics.
are seeking guidance on how to approach this demand for their money and
information about their members. Ultimately the decisions must rest with clubs
and their members but ABAC wish to assist this process by setting out the
options available to clubs.
affiliate or not?
Many clubs, particularly the smaller
road running clubs, will be considering the pros and cons of affiliating to EA.
The costs to all clubs will be greater than their previous affiliation to the
Territorial Associations with the increase to £5 per member already being
introduced in 2008. Who knows what the costs will be after that, with the huge
expense of running the EA Regions to be met? Reliable estimates have placed the
cost at £40 per athlete. In Scotland it is currently £22 per registered athlete.
Understandably many clubs will be asking
what they get from affiliation to EA. Automatic insurance for EA permitted
events is often cited as a benefit of affiliation, but an alternative is now
available in the form of the Association of Running Clubs (ARC). The ARC
provide member clubs and events they organise with comprehensive civil liability
insurance for a fraction of the costs of affiliation to EA and without all the
attendant administration. Details are available on the ARC website:
For clubs who are looking for
appropriate insurance and less bureaucracy this would certainly seem to be the
best solution, providing members are not particularly bothered about competing
in events within the UKA/EA system (see below). In such events their athletes
are likely to be regarded as unattached and could be subject to the usual
surcharge on entry fees (currently £2).
Which members to register?
EA and UKA will undoubtedly insist on
athletes competing within their Championships being registered with EA.
Unfortunately the territories (Midlands, North and South) in accepting their
downgraded roles as 'competition providers' have adopted a supine approach to EA
and from early autumn onwards are likely to require EA registration for
competitors in their championships and track and field leagues.(although we note
the SEAA rejected plans to affiliate itself to EA ) However, in practice it is
likely to prove impossible to 'police' the registration system at most road
races or track and field meetings, particularly those taking entries on the day.
The Track and Field Leagues committee has stated it will not monitor registered
athletes because of the additional work load.
Clubs wishing to continue to compete in
Championships and Leagues under UKA, EA or territorial control should minimise
their contributions to EA coffers by only registering those athletes likely
to compete in such competitions, and then leaving it as late as possible.
The EA Information Sheet sent out in January 2007 stated that clubs will be
excluded from team competition if they have not paid by September (with a
reminder to be issued in July). Any additional athletes can be registered as
and when necessary.
What information to provide?
The January 2007 EA Information Sheet
stated that 'core data requirements' would include e-mail, home and mobile phone
number, events competed in, ethnicity and disability status. Pressure from ABAC
and others have forced EA into rapid backtracking and they now state their
'minimum data requirement' as: first name, surname, gender, date of birth,
contact address, postcode, first claim status.
Many would regard most of this as
non-contentious, although interestingly the EA Individual Membership Form still
contains all their previous bureaucratic demands - quite probably a sign of
things to come!
No doubt secretaries of larger clubs will be salivating at the prospect of
providing all that information (much of which they may not have) for several
Even with the current reduced 'minimum
data requirement', there are serious concerns about supplying members'
addresses, since this will give EA the opportunity to by-pass clubs in
communicating with athletes. Given the lies, half truths and spin that have
accompanied the discredited Foster Report and the so-called 'modernisation' of
the sport, it is hardly surprising that many club officials and others at grass
roots level have serious misgivings about EA's motives for demanding addresses.
Some clubs are known to be supplying their club secretary's address as the
contact point for all registered members, although this might not go down well
with the secretary's local postie!
As we said in our introduction, the
final decision must rest with clubs and their members but ABAC's advice can be
Affiliate to ARC instead
if you feel your club has no need for competition under EA/UKA control;
If you feel you must stay
register the minimum number of athletes of 11 and over likely to
compete in events which can be effectively controlled by EA
provide as little data on individual members as you can.