The most notable recent highlight was in men’s beach volleyball - a selection of Chris and Jake to represent GB in the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan in June. They have done an amazing job, largely on their own, working hard on pitch and off court to raise funding, with some support from Volleyball England. On behalf of the BVF I wish them all the best at the Games! BVF is working hard on securing potential commercial partnerships to support them in their quest to qualify for Rio.
Our GB Sitting teams, especially our men’s team, are making progress in their international performance following a successful talent acquisition program last year. Led by a new coach, Branislav Kovac, they had secured a second place in an international tournament in Riga. The women’s team is also working hard to maintain their position in the world ranking but are still in need of new talent to supplement the current team.
The end of March marked the end of the financial year for the BVF.
Key milestones achieved in the financial year 2014-2015 include:
- a first commercial partnership with Unum, one of the UK’s leading financial protection insurers, to support GB Sitting Programmes has been activated in April 2015 (see earlier press release on the BVF website)
- the BVF website was updated and integrated into the VE website to save costs and ensure that the content is up-to-date and regularly updated with the latest news related to GB Programmes
- a long term strategy for the BVF was developed and agreed on by the BVF Board (reflected in the Annual Report published on the website last year)
- BVF took part in the UK Sport Consultation process putting forward the case for team sports needing extra support for future Olympic cycles. This need has been recognised by UK Sport in their consultation report and we hope this will influence the funding process and decisions after Rio 2016.
- A new governance model was proposed by the BVF based on the research of governance models in other sports. It is based on a concept of a ‘nominated nation’ elected in each Olympic cycle to take on operational responsibilities to run GB Programmes. The benefit of such an approach in current circumstances (no UK Sport funding) is that this allows a sustainable BVF organisation of volunteers, supported by a Home Nations’ staff to run GB Programmes and help with: administrative tasks, marketing, developing proposals for UK Sport, sponsorship/partnership management /fulfillment. This model is being discussed by the Nations and will be formally approved at the next AGM scheduled for August 2015
- Based on a specific criteria that includes financial/people resources and relevant skills - e.g. to run BVF website, perform fundraising, ability to fulfill partnership agreements – BVF’s recommendation last year was that Volleyball England should be elected a Nominated Nation in this Olympic Cycle. Volleyball England agreed in principal subject to confirmation of funding and approval by their Board. In the meantime Volleyball England have been supporting BVF informally in a number of ways – fundraising, website etc. On behalf of BVF, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Martin Lindsey, Richard Stacey-Chapman and Rohan West for all their help with the BVF related activities.
Board Composition and Leadership
Earlier in the year the BVF embarked on hiring process of volunteers to strengthen our Board further with financial, marketing and commercial skills. The Board confirmed the appointment of new treasurer /company secretary, Martin Charlton who has previous experience in sport management. The BVF Board has also approved an involvement in the Board of two additional volunteers - Franck Kermarrec and Gary Smith – both with very strong commercial background, as BVF Board Advisors. On behalf of the Board I would like to welcome Martin, Franck and Gary to the Board and I am sure that they will be a great asset to BVF.
Leading the Board as an Independent Chair and a President over the last 18th months has been a great experience for me personally and a learning process for the whole Board. One of the learning points was that the President’s role would probably be best performed by somebody from inside the sport and somebody who can find a way to devote more time to the increasing demands of the BVF leadership.
This realisation, combined with me accepting a new job that demands a considerable time commitment and extensive travel, left me with little choice but to step down as a President (Chair) at the most recent Board meeting on May 8th. I will continue to serve the BVF as a Non-Executive Director.
Richard Callicott, a co-opted BVF Board member, has been elected as the Acting President. A formal election of a new President will take place at the next AGM meeting currently scheduled for August 17th 2015.
On behalf of the Board, I would like to express a deep gratitude to Richard for agreeing to take an Acting President role. His deep knowledge of the sport – its complex landscape of national and international governance - makes him a great person to drive the BVF strategy execution and develop a successor from the volleyball community.
In conclusion, I would like to thank BVF and all of you for the opportunity to lead the BVF Board in the last 18 months. It has been a tremendous experience. I met very impressive individuals dedicated to the sport and made new friends. Together we progressed the BVF strategy, governance framework and attracted new commercial partnerships. I am looking forward to continuing to support the sport I love the best I can as a Non-Executive Director.
Non-Executive Director, Ex-President of the British Volleyball Federation