News & reports

Update re membership of North of England Athletics Association

Thinking of entering a NoEAA event? There have been a number of issues around their membership caused by the fact that we are the only club in England that has a base in both the north and south. Here is the latest update from Ken.

Update from March 21st

I contacted England Athletics to see where we are with NoEAA and Dean Hardman sent the following detail basically saying that EA have no control on athletics at this level (my interpretation only).

"We met with NA in January and they stated at that meeting that they would be consulting clubs in the north (both those who have signed up to their scheme and those who haven’t) on the potential to amend their approach for year two.

"We explicitly mentioned NVH and other clubs located in areas close to the border with SEAA and MCAA territories. I’m not aware that this consultation has started but when I met one of their board members two weeks ago he said this is imminent.

"MCAA and SEAA are also considering similar schemes and I am meeting them together early next month to discuss what that might look like and to hopefully consider ways that the issues experienced in the the north can be avoided.

"As I’ve said in previous emails, we are generally supportive of the areas becoming financially self-sufficient, but we are not in a position to dictate to them how they should do this. In that context we would rather be round the table discussing the impact on clubs than excluded from that process.

"In the meantime MCAA have said that they will accept guest entries from athletes such as those at NVH. Hopefully this will only be required for one year. "

Cheers

Ken

Update from Feb 5th

England Athletics raised the issue at a recent meeting with Northern Athletics, albeit inconclusive. Here is an email from EA telling us this:

Dean Hardman (England Athletics) re meeting held week commencing 14 January 2019. Sll quoted.

"The meeting with NA was positive and we (EA) made representations on behalf of clubs like NVH and individual athletes affected by the new NA scheme. We also referenced the fact that MCAA had agreed that any Northern athletes no longer eligible for NA Champs are welcome to compete as guests in the Midlands.

"The upshot was that NA will now consult both the clubs who are part of their scheme and those that are not, on whether there should be changes. The issue of eligibility of northern athletes whose first claim club is not in the Northern area will be a priority in that. The chair of NA was not, however, willing to change the scheme until that survey has been issued and the results fed back.

"I do think there was sympathy on their part for clubs like NVH who are located near the border between two areas and I am hopeful that they will listen to the views expressed by clubs.

"I’m sorry that we weren’t able to persuade NA to change their minds immediately."


Update from January 28th

This email from the Chair of Lincs AA is the latest on the ongoing saga:

The problems re Lincolnshire qualified athletes being excluded from Northern Athletics Champs/Competitions was discussed at last night's Lincolnshire Athletics Association Executive Committee Meeting.

As a result of these discussions we will be writing to and making representation to Northern Athletics. I can not promise that there will be an immediate change in policy but we feel that although the introduction of the annual £2 levy to Clubs for all EA registered athletes was seen to be essential to preserve future Northern Athletics competitions (Champs. and Inter-Counties ) the Association members had not fully considered the implications for County qualified athletes (birth or residence) who are members of Clubs based outside the County.

It affects Lincs qualified athletes who are members of Clubs based in Cambs, , Notts, Leics. and Derbyshire and anyone competing for a Club under the at a higher level of competition arrangement. I thought you should be aware of this.

Regards,

Beryl
Lincs. A.A. Chairman


January 7th update from Ken Maggs

No good news yet but just to keep you all up to date with the current position, I quote latest email below which suggests England Athletics are having a meeting but only after the championships have started. Please note that the reference to the XC refers also to the track and field:

"My name is Dean Hardman and Heidi Bradley has passed on your emails regarding Northern Athletics to me. Apologies for the delayed response – I was away for a period of time over Christmas and today is my first day back.

In my role at EA I oversee our department that covers membership, competition, teams, road running development and officials development, as well as commercial partnerships and fundraising. In that capacity I am the point of liaison with each of the area competition providers, to whom EA has provided competition grants in recent years.

If you read Athletics Weekly, you may have seen this Q&A.

The part about area competition effectively sets out our position – we are very concerned that the new Northern Athletics scheme means that there is no prospect of area competition for athletes who are Northern but who compete first claim for clubs not in the north (whether that be the likes of yourself and others who live close to county borders, or simply those who for whatever reason are members of clubs not in the North).

We are meeting with the Chair of NA next week, after trying in vain to meet prior to Christmas. I am obviously conscious that this leaves little time to find a solution for the current indoor and XC season. You are no doubt already aware that the Midland Counties AA allow entries from Lincolnshire athletes to compete at their XC championships.

My understanding is that Northern Athletics are not breaking any rules in establishing the conditions for the scheme. The UKA rulebook outlines eligibility for area championships (birth and residence) but also states that competition providers can “strengthen” eligibility rules should they so wish. UKA are the body that ultimately oversees compliance with their rules. Unfortunately, beyond lobbying and trying to influence, we (EA) do not have powers over NA, who are an independent body and always have been.

Please be assured that we will be making the case strongly next week, however.

In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or other observations, please do pass them on."

Dean Hardman
England Athletics



30th DEC

Still no luck in getting matter sorted and unfortunately a lack of contact from our governing bodies. I have been in contact with Heidi Bradley, the Lincolnshire area contact for England Athletics:

13 December 2018 14:42
I wrote to UKA (General contact), England Athletics (Heidi) and Lincolnshire Athletics (Beryl Clay):

I thought that I would write direct to you in order to try and get some assistance with a matter which effects a few of our athletes. All the views contained in this email are my personal views as time has not enabled me to go through the committee at our club. For your information I am a coach, official, treasurer and member of Nene Valley Harriers. I am also an official for Lincolnshire in Northern Counties events.

In brief, we have 26 athletes who live and were born in the Northern Counties and as a result have no other regional options, as all require one of these two attributes,.i.e. an athlete born and living in Lincolnshire (as I am personally) cannot compete in the SoEAA Championships despite NVH being an SEAA affiliated club.

Until just four weeks ago, those 26 athletes and indeed others living in Lincolnshire now but born in Peterborough were able to do the North of England Championships and as history shows we have winners, medalists and even record holders.

NoEAA have now stipulated that athletes must be first claim athletes of a NoEAA affiliated club. As the emails show below we (NVH) are in a unique position although regardless, this action taken by NoEAA is not in the best interests of Northern Athletes. Our position is that we have a base in Peterborough (SEAA) and Boston (NoEAA).

In an attempt to sort the issue I made contact with NoEAA, who had not informed us of this until they changed their website entry details. They stated that they were sympathetic to our situation and if we could suggest a solution then they would accommodate us. Thus I suggested to fairly simple means but they dismissed them without consideration before coming back later with the fact that they could not do it for fairly flimsy reasons.

I had emailed England Athletics previously with this issue but to no prevail and thus you will note I have tried a different address, i.e. the Lincolnshire contact in the hope that you can assist our case. All the email contact details/timeline are shown below. Even if this is considered to be in the best interests of the athletes who can enter no regional championships, I also cannot see how it is in the interests of the NoEAA clubs to turn down our offer to pay an affiliation fee for those athletes. I believe that these trustees are in breach of their own organisation's objects (shown below) which is to encourage and promote athletics in the Territory, to promote, organise and encourage the holding of athletic competitions, meetings, championships and events. They are preventing 26 athletes competing at this level and the competitions will be incomplete as a result.

3.1 The purposes of the Organisation shall be:
a) to encourage and promote athletics in the Territory;
b) to represent the Organisation on all appropriate bodies;
c) to select and manage representative teams;
d) to promote, organise and encourage the holding of athletic competitions, meetings, championships and events;
e) to adopt the UKA Rules of Competition;
f) to assist the Governing Bodies of Athletics in the performance of their objects, powers and duties;
g) to make suitable arrangements with sponsors.

The email trail stated that NVH would be willing to pay a subscription covering those athletes. Only a minority of them would ever compete at that level maybe 6 to 10 of them but two or three of them would be going expecting to win medals. One of which has competed in the NoEAA, now as a senior lady and previously as a youngster being forced to miss her first championships in the new year, great encouragement.

I hope that you are able to assist and your opinion should carry some weight due to England Athletics providing them with funding. If you are not able to assist could you then please explain to those 26 athletes how their affiliation fee paid to England Athletics is funding a part of the sport in which they are unable to compete through no fault of their own.

Finally, is it worth noting that UKA rules state that birth or residency is eligible criteria for entry in to area champs and the NOEAA state on their website that the champs are run under UKA rules so surely they are in direct breach of those also.

17 December 2018 16:38
I just wanted to let you know that I have passed your email on to a colleague who is already aware of your situation and has been communicating with the area associations regarding this. He continues to liaise with both Northern Athletics and the other areas on this matter at present and I am sure will get in touch with you with any news on this.
I hope the matter gets resolved for your athletes and wish you all the best with your club.

21 December 2018 21:05
I’m sorry Ken, our office is now closed until 2nd January. I’m just picking up on a couple of last emails then I will be switching off myself. I’m not involved in your query so I can’t comment in what has or hasn’t been occurring, but I know someone was chasing up on it at the start of the week. They however will also now be on leave. I’m sorry I can’t help anymore.


DEC 20th
Unfortunately, SEAA are stating that athletes not born or living in the region cannot compete in their championships.

Please note that I am still trying to sort something by way of contact through England Athletics, British Athletics and Lincolnshire Athletics. I will keep trying as this is a gross injustice.

Ken
13/12/18

DEC 9th

We have had no luck with NoEAA despite making two different suggestions for them they responded stating:

"Bad news I’m afraid. After discussion it was decided that although there was a great deal of sympathy for the Northern section, it was realised that the two sections would be problematic when it came to other competitions as if there were two separate clubs, the athletes could only compete for the one they were registered to so North athletes wouldn’t be able to be in the same league or national comps as the original NVH athletes.

"If you can think of any way around this please let us know as we will be conducting a survey amongst the affiliated clubs to ask whether there are any issues that they want to raise. It will be an ongoing discussion point as we are aware that this is a major problem, both for clubs and individuals – hopefully we will be able to come to some suitable arrangement prior to next year’s affiliation date.

"Once again I’m really sorry that we are unable to accept the entries at this point but please be assured that we will continue to look for solutions"

However, I do have some potential good news. SEAA have changed the eligibilty which shows on their website. Under eligibility It states:

"A member of a club affiliated with England Athletics. In team events the club must also be affiliated to the SEAA."
And
"Registered with England Athletics. Entries without a valid registration number will not be accepted."

The entry does not ask place of birth or residence. It simply asks you to confirm "I hereby declare that I am eligible to compete according to the laws of the governing body for UK Athletics, I am a duly elected member of the above named club and that the above particulars are complete and correct."

This must be worth a try although may not be successful. Unfortunately, the club has no options and has made every attempt to sort the matter.

Ken

DEC 1st

Hi all

Current position
The current position is that NoEAA decided that due to cuts in funding from England Athletics that they would need to generate their own funds to maintain representation for Northern Clubs and as such have adopted an affiliation scheme, i.e. £2 per EA affiliated member for any club who wishes to be affiliated to them in the relevant counties (note this point includes Lincs). As a result, of the changes some clubs did not want to be affiliated and therefore the decision was made that the championships were only open to athletes of Northern affiliated clubs.

They did hold a second vote to allow second claim members of those clubs to also run (this was actually referred to in order to assist NVH members). This was rejected due to a conflict that a number of northern clubs have had with athletes joining Birchfield Harriers and being born and living in the north still.

Interestingly SEAA have been speaking to the Northern committee about how they have organised it and voted last week to do the same thing.

The problem
We are in transition. The entries for the NoEAA Champs require you to be born or live in the North counties and to be a first claim member of an affiliated club. This is transition as the ultimate position will be just member of an affiliated club and the south will be the same. The transition is due to the south being just born or living in the south.

We are unique
Apparently we are the only club in the UK which is based in the North and the South, we have two registered training bases which forms the basis for registration, Peterborough and Boston. As such we under the pure rules would be required to pay subscription to both if we so wanted, and both would be for all affiliated athletes with EA. The cost would be over £600 to each area. We currently pay £50 to SEAA.

Costs will rise regardless of the position below.

Decisions to be sorted
NoEAA are meeting on Tuesday evening and the top item on the agenda is NVH. The NoEAA chairman wants us to form a separate division, i.e. club which will have inherent issues for all leagues etc. The membership secretary and others feel that this is not right either and an exceptional circumstance should be sorted.

This may be that we pay a set fee, say £50 or £75 to be affiliated with NoEAA or we may need to register certain athletes with each area and thus they will then be restricted to which they can compete at (if they had a choice previously). The idea being that we still pay £2 per affiliated athlete but will pay some to NoEAA and some to SEAA.

Where do we stand now
Judith Templeton (NoEAA) stated in writing "Don’t worry about the closing date we can sort that if necessary." and reiterated this to be the case again today in our conversation at the Sheffield Open meeting.

The chairman is going to contact me by phone to chat through and as stated they have a meeting Tuesday.

In short, I do not know where we stand.

What does Ken need to know
I may need to know who has tried to enter the championships to ensure that they are not penalised re the closing date as a result of these changes.

In the meantime, I will keep the club up to date with events and thus this starting point after three weeks of contact.

I would also point out that I have been trying to sort this and started before any entries that as I was aware of, knowing we have athletes that would be effected. I have tried to sort it as someone had to do so and hope to get a good solution. I am extremely busy at work and had no part of the causing the situation. EA introduced affiliation fees and areas voted against the £2 increase this year and as a result EA have cut funding by £2 (my opinion only and not that of the club). None of it is my fault and I cannot not change it so please do not issue complaints my way or they will simply be deleted.

That's all for now.

Regards

Ken