I read with great interest the Press Release sent to me by John Chapman (Chairman of BRSF). John is correct in stating there is very little cohesion.
Having a central membership registration system would allow the BRSF to account for the state of the sport across the board independently which will aid with sponsorship deals with clubs, associations and tournaments. I have tried to break down the advantages and forseen problems in trying to start this Register.
This is no simple task for a amateur sport run by volunteers. Financially, with the mention of having a independent data provider to store this information immediately allows a debate to go ahead on who should do this and the pros and cons of each - pricing being one of them and the other the features required.
It would be interesting to see the activity of individuals who take part in more than one association. No information has been suggested to record what teams they compete in and at what age group. This information would be useful to show the balance of players age groups. This information would highlight the areas which the sport is missing out on potential players and also may show a correlation between association and age groups. It would also be interesting to see the balance across associations based on location.
The biggest problem is for people to enter the sport without knowing someone it it already. Having contact details for clubs managers and coaches with addresses of the centres they train at and compete at would make it a lot easier to enter the sport. Been affiliated to a central Membership register would also show a more trusted club than one that didn't.
A statement was made about making deadlines on when players would have to be registered to this database to be able to compete in leagues etc. This is a valid issue regarding Insurance cover.
This does highlight a new change in direction for BiSHA's latest rule change regarding being able to change teams and being able to compete in the Nationals without the previous restriction of having to compete in a certain amount of games.
The rule was apparently changed because it was taking too much time and effort to manage this effectively. With this in mind...how easy is it going to be to manage a Common Membership register?
Financially collecting the membership fees to pay for this Register would be cause for concern. The suggestion of allowing associations to make up their own mind on how they collect their own membership fees could cause confusion. If each had their own method, it would make it a extreme hassle for individuals. More often than not, clubs managers have to organise this with their players and streamlining this process will again bring more support at club level as well.
Data collection process
It would have to be made a very easy process for associations to take this on board as well as their current information. Obviously being able to provide the associations with templates to be able to export their current information out would make this process easier.
Obviously this information needs to be up-to-date otherwise it is no use to anyone. So a process of keeping this up to date would have to be taken into account.
Find a club
Stephen Olner's web site along with my web site have both tried to create a directory of clubs, but I have always been aware that it is not up to date and doesn't show a true representation of the sport. I have been planning to produce a dynamic map with visual icons to show where clubs are in each region which are colour coded by association etc.
Let the members do the work!
Possibly having this accessible to the internet for players to log in and change their own details would leviate the pressure from the associations. The associations could then update their records with a new copy of their "set" of data.
The suggestions about mailing list financial gain isn't clear from reading the paragraph in the press release. The current state of marketing in the UK from manufacturers is very low as the Distributors are responsible for this and spend very little on it currently.
Would it also be a suggestion that for clubs that are not competing in any leagues/associations/tournaments that they can join this Common Membership Register and benefit from the insurance as well.
With a central database, a record of players competition could be held centrally and recognition on players could be placed on line for people to see. I feel that there is not enough effort to show the achievements of players in the sport. Especially the recent victory of the IIHF team in the World Championships.
I've only really brushed the surface and I'm sure there are a lot more opinions out there. So if you would like to add comments to this article please feel free. What I have concluded personally to this is that there is a lot of effort required to centralise the registration process for the sport which will allow the BRSF to monitor the associations centrally and offer Insurance benefits to all. Other than the monitoring and insurance...what else is there? Am I missing something here?