AMERICA'S BILL BERNE TO ASSUME W.C.F. PRESIDENCY AS CROQUET'S WORLD BODY
AUTHORIZES POSTAL VOTING
by Bob Alman
By the end of June, voting members of the World Croquet
Federation will have elected four new members of the Management Committee
and confirmed the retiring president of the United States Croquet
Association - Dr. Bill Berne of Lumberton, North Carolina - as the world
body's new chief executive.
For more than year, it has been widely known that Bill Berne, former
president of the United States Croquet Association and treasurer of
the WCF since 1994, was the only candidate to replace Fred Rogerson
of Ireland as president of the World Croquet Federation at the end of
Rogerson's four-year service. It has been assumed that the official
transition would have to wait for a convenient time, when a sufficient
number of voting representatives of the "Full" voting members could be
together in one place - at the WCF championship in Bunbury, Australia,
in November of this year.
But now, the member organizations have elected unanimously to
inaugurate new procedures recommended by the Management Committee to
allow voting by postal mail. This means that future decisions can be
taken more quickly by a simple postal voting procedure that will enable
all voting member organizations to give full weight to their views in
all voting matters.
BALLOT RESULTS TO BE ANNOUNCED ON JULY 31
Voting is to be completed by postal balloting by the end of the month,
and results are to be announced on July 31st, according to Chris Hudson,
In addition to the unopposed election of Berne, four seats on the Management
Committee are being contested by five candidates. The Management Committee
consists of six elected members plus the president. Retiring in rotation
are Masaru Ikeda (Japan) and Ashley Heenan (New Zealand); the term of Chris
Hudson has also expired, but he is running for re-election. Remaining on
the board in their unexpired terms are Antoine Ravez (France) and Ashley
Heenan (New Zealand).
HUDSON EXPECTED TO STAY ON AS SECRETARY-GENERAL
Chris Hudson has held the post of Secretary-General of the WCF since the
founding of the organization in 1986. For most of that time, he was also
the National Development officer of the English CA. More than anyone else,
Hudson, as the most active long-time officer of the organization and the man
"in the field" making things happen internationally, has shaped the agenda
and direction of the organization in its formative years.
After the election, the Management Committee will appoint from among its
members a Treasurer and a Secretary-General. At this time, it is assumed
that Chris Hudson will be re-appointed to the post.
THE DIFFICULT ISSUES - WORLD TEAMS AND THE MACROBERTSON
The new Management Committee will inherit the major issues of the outgoing
group, principal among them the question of whether and how the MacRobertson
Shield, held every three years, is to become the official WCF world team event.
Opinion is divided, but seems to fall out on the "yes" side.
Even if the consensus says "yes," however, many thorny side issues are yet
to be thrashed out between radically opposed points of view. For example:
How large is the licensing fee the MacRobertson Shield would have to pay
the WCF to get the sanction of the official world body and the government
grants and other financial benefits that come with it? And: How many other
nations may be allowed to compete in the MacRobertson Shield, and on what
President Fred Rogerson addressed strongly the licensing issue in a
broadside in the WCF's official newsletter last year.
[See our report of Rogerson's statement in CROQUET WORLD ONLINE MAGAZINE.]
Some leading figures in croquet would prefer to create a separate world
team event that could include many emerging croquet countries and leave the
MacRobertson as it is, limited to the "big four" powers of Great Britain,
New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. The prospect of "diluting"
the MacRobertson or other world championship events is particularly distressing
to some top players.
[Our "Courtside Chat" with England's Debbie Cornelius includes her views on
There are five nominations for four vacancies on the Management Committee,
the vacancies being caused by the retirement of three members of the Committee
in rotation as defined by WCF Rule 5(E), and by the vacancy caused by Bill
Berne's impending unopposed election as President.
THE CANDIDATES - WHO THEY ARE AND WHERE THEY STAND
The five candidates and their proposers are as follows:
|Mr. Ahmed Hammrosh ||The Egyptian Croquet Federation|
|Mr. Chris Hudson ||The Australian Croquet Association|
|Mr. Colin Irwin ||The English Croquet Association|
|Mr. John Prince ||The New Zealand Croquet Council|
|Mr. Rod Williams ||The Scottish Croquet Association|
Hammrosh, representing Egypt as the newest "Full" voting member of the WCF, states
as his specific aims: "to introduce croquet to other Arab countries in the Middle East;
to set up coaching schemes; to increase the number of croquet-playing countries in
the African continent; and to unify the lawns and develop the playing of Golf Croquet
In stating his aims, Colin Irwin of England expresses his concern "that opinion seems
to be growing more negative towards the WCF. We need the support of the membership,"
he says, "and not just financially, so we need to be seen to be listening to them and
consulting them for their views." Irwin supports the idea of expanding the MacRobertson
Shield to make it a world team championship, but acknowledges that the debate is nowhere
close to resolution. It is not known, he says, "what we each want to get out of a world
team championship. My primary aim in this area if elected would be to find out."
John Prince of New Zealand, who has represented his country seven times in the MacRobertson
(five times as captain), states, "I am a strong supporter of the MacRobertson Shield Test Series
and would welcome new nations to the competition. I would also support the MacRobertson
Shield...being recognized 'officially' as a World Team Event."
Scotland's Rod Williams has stated, "If elected to the WCF Management Committee I would
promote representation of all croquet playing countries in world events, regardless of
their size or financial status. This seems to me to be the most effective means of promoting
croquet on the world stage." He adds, however, "I believe the MacRobertson Shield would not,
in its present form, be suitable as a vehicle for a World Teams Championship, though I am
confident an acceptable compromise can be found."
HOW THE WORLD CROQUET FEDERATION IS ORGANIZED
The World Croquet Federation has two classes of membership; "Full" members, and "Observer"
members. "Observer" membership is open to any national croquet association,. but to qualify for
"Full" membership, the croquet association must have a constitution and an independent national
For "Full" membership, there must be clear evidence of a national structure, with at least 5
subsidiary organizations (clubs, etc), and the association must be able to produce audited
accounts demonstrating the payment of membership subscriptions to it. In addition, the
association must play a version of croquet recognized by the WCF, and there must be clear
evidence that the association is involved in promoting croquet and has an effective coaching
scheme in place. The association must also have ultimate responsibility for the tournament
calendar within its area of jurisdiction, and must have staged at least two national
championships. The number of individual participants acknowledging the authority of the
association must exceed 50.
At present, there are only nine full voting members of the WCF: Australia, Egypt, England,
Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, and the United States; another couple of
dozen countries have "observer" status and may not vote. The voting entitlement of each full
member is determined by the number of individual associates affiliated to it. If the
association has less than 500 associates, it has one vote. An association with a number of
associates between 500 and 1000 has 2 votes, and associations with more than 1000 associates
are given 3 votes.
[This report is based largely on a June 1997 press release of the WCF and E-Mail correspondence
with Chris Hudson, Secretary-General.]