Board Meetings

As part of our commitment to transparency, wherever possible, we are now publishing reports of the Board meetings. These should give everyone a good understanding of the key priorities, projects and discussions, without breaching commercial and personal confidentiality.

Report on the Bath City FC Board Meeting

25 January 2021
(Video/Conference call)

Attendees: Nick Blofeld (Chair), Jon Bickley, Cheryl Bradley, Matt Falk, Shane Morgan, Andrew Pierce, John Reynolds, Joy Saunders, Paul Williams, Emma Sparks
Observers: Bob Chester, Chris Coles, Jerry Gill, Carole Banwell, Paul Brotherton, Quentin Edwards, Oliver Holtaway (for item 5 only)

  1. Football Update 

(i) Jerry gave an update on team news and hopes for future matches. The team would like to be able to use the home dressing rooms again.

ACTION: Nick to draft letter to League re changing room policy, Paul to amend and send.

ACTION: Jon to arrange comms to update fans on progress of ex-players who’ve moved on/back & done well.

(ii) The League announced a two week break on 22 January and will get back to teams when they have more news. Wera Hobhouse and others are lobbying for DCMS support for grants not loans and we are still awaiting comment from Sport England on funding. We cannot afford to continue to play without non-loan funding. The Board thanked Q for his work on behalf of the Club.

ACTION: Chris & Nick to keep Wera up to date. 

(iii) Pitch – Andrew spoke to the report he had circulated prior to the meeting. How much work will be required in the short term will partly depend on whether or not Bristol Women continue to play at Twerton Park. The key concern is drainage. Nothing substantial has been done on that for the best part of 30 years, since Bristol Rovers left. We have had a quote for a whole new drainage system, and a quote for a Sandband system with a 3 to 4 year lifespan. A survey can’t be done without digging holes so has to wait until the end of the season. Usual end of season work will be an additional cost. The pitch will hold up to the end of the season but we will have to manage matches. The call for volunteers was successful, with 8 including one from Bristol Rovers. The Board expressed formal thanks to Andrew for his work on the pitch.

ACTION: Joy to follow up with council on possibility of CIL money.

ACTION: Nick to pick up with other potential funders.

ACTION: Budget for £11k at end of season.

  1. SAG Actions, Timings & Cost update 

We have sent an official complaint to the League regarding Havant’s comments about our changing room arrangements.

(i) SAG Actions

We don’t yet have a total cost for required work as electrical and Momentum quotes are still to come.

ACTION: Paul to follow up with Momentum.

There is some follow up work from the fire report to be done. We will only need an external inspection every 3 years, with annual self inspections in between. Accolade have completed their work on the barriers and we are just waiting for the report.  There are things on the safety certificate list which haven’t been on before.  Shane is bottoming out with SAG as to what will be needed in full annually, and what will only be needed in part.   ­

ACTION: Nick to draft comms to supporters on the work required, to run by Jon & Shane.

ACTION: Nick to speak to Chair of SAG.

(ii) SSG Update – John R/Shane

John and Shane met with SSG and will be working to ensure we conform to our new Health & Safety policy. There will be two files, one containing the Health & Safety policy and one with contractors’ indemnity insurance and risk assessments. Directors have duty to ensure compliance. All employees have to view and sign the policy. There needs to be a site introduction for staff and a site register, which staff and visitors must sign during the working week. Two fire points need to be identified within the ground. We have signed an agreement with SSG that they will contact us to ensure we review the policy annually.

The people who work most at the ground are probably electricians. There needs to be a one page certificate for anything they work on.

(iii) Designated Sports Ground

Shane updated everyone on the situation. While the League doesn’t think there’s any reason for us to be a designated ground, the head of SGSA seemed to be discouraging de-designation. The pros were more obvious when we were expecting the redevelopment.

ACTION: Shane to call Ken Scott and circulate pros and cons.

  1. Redevelopment 

There is potential movement on bringing a new construction company into the project but nothing is confirmed.  We are looking for clarity and direct contact with the new party to discuss alignment/local plan.  We may have to keep other options in mind.

The planning consultancy thought we should give feedback on the Council’s consultation ourselves at this point. BANES has a two page summary on what they see as the potential for Twerton Park. On one hand, their view fits with what we want but they talk about a maximum of 90 “dwellings” in the car park and on the ransom strip. On first reading, it looks overly prescriptive and doesn’t allow us much leeway on meeting our operational needs. Once we have an agreed response, we will ask a small number of people to also respond.

ACTION: Nick/Joy & Carole to draft and circulate response this week and work out how to mobilise support. Nick to check with other consultants and parties for advice on how to play it.

  1. Finance

Paul spoke to his report circulated prior to the meeting.

HMRC will be releasing information on payment under VAT deferral scheme. We can either pay back through 11 monthly payments or by using bounce back loan, structure repayment over 5 years. Of the VAT we owe, £7.5k relates to season tickets so that could be claimed back if those are refunded or won’t be payable again if they are carried over to next year.

We are taking steps to ensure we carefully follow rules on the use of furlough.

We are still being charged by those clubs who charge for loanees. We may have to ask for them to be recalled if the League doesn’t continue. Our best course of action may be to take players off furlough for friendlies.

Whatever action is taken and the reasons for it will be fully recorded to ensure we can evidence we have acted in good faith. If the season is ended, all will be put on furlough and all matches will cease.

  1. Memorandum of Understanding between Supporters’ Society and BCFC Board

Oliver Holtaway joined the meeting.

The relationship between the two bodies was originally outlined when the Club came under Community ownership in 2017, guessing at what would happen in the future, with a view to review once we had practical experience. The aim now is to “fix the roof while the sun is shining” and to give clarity if any issues arise in future. The suggestion of two joint meetings a year is to allow focal points for ensuring clarity rather than creating additional bureaucracy, for example finding Club Board members with the correct skill mix could be a shared workstream rather than the onus being on one side or the other.

The issue of how to achieve the right experience/skill set on Board is the key outstanding point – versus the pure democratic process which doesn’t automatically create this. This is still to be resolved and there needs to be absolute clarity over decision making rights, eg the extent to which urgent operational decisions are made by the Board. This should be the two Chairs’ role to decide.

ACTION: Oliver, Nick, Jon & Paul B to resolve outstanding issues via email/zoom.

Oliver left the meeting.

  1. Supporters/Society 

A meeting with Jerry for supporters has been organised for 3 February. Comms have already gone out to members and a piece for inclusion in the newsletter is being drafted.

This will also be a good opportunity to include a presentation of the financial document as well. The Society is also exploring how to live stream a Zoom meeting to Facebook and whether that’s a way to open up the meeting to more supporters and keep it online for future views.

  1. Actions from Last Minutes 
  • Nick will be making call to Will Godfrey as per action point above.
  • The action around building on the relationship with Bristol City is on hold while the future of the season is uncertain.
  • Matt had an exploratory call with Lee at Bristol City Women. The feedback was very complimentary and they are keen to work with us commercially going forward. The

Board agreed we are keen to continue the relationship.

  • Bob got sponsorship packages for cancelled Chippenham match.

Minutes of previous meeting were agreed. Proposer: Andrew Pierce, Seconder Jon Bickley

  1. Working Groups

(i) Commercial

Bob spoke to the update circulated in advance. The target for the lottery is to double income, which would provide £25k pa. We are looking into replacing Jerry’s car as it is getting close to the inclusive mileage allowance.

(ii) Community

Joy circulated a report in advance.

AGREED: to run alternate fundraising campaign for the Foundation to replace the usual matchday bucket collections.

There is a meeting with the Foundation on 4th February regarding ongoing issue about shared Board member(s). Mrs Falk has been appointed as a Trustee of the Foundation.

  1. AOB 

Matt requested an item on Commercials on the next meeting’s agenda.

Date of Next Meeting: 22 Feb 2021


Report on the Bath City FC Interim Board Meeting

1 February 2021
(Video/Conference call)

Attendees: Nick Blofeld (Chair), Jon Bickley, Cheryl Bradley, Matt Falk, Shane Morgan, Andrew Pierce, John Reynolds, Paul Williams, Emma Sparks
Observers: Bob Chester, Chris Coles, Carole Banwell
Apologies: Joy Saunders

The Board met to consider proposals anticipated from the National League.

The proposals hadn’t been received by the start of the meeting. The Board discussed our financial position, the League’s situation and the views, as known, of other Clubs.

It was agreed unanimously:

  1. We will not seek a loan if that is how funding under the “Sports Winter Support Package” is made available. An exploratory meeting scheduled for the morning with Sports England and the League will go ahead, however, in case grants are an option. Andrew Pierce is attending the virtual meeting on the Club’s behalf.
  1. As things stand, we will not play Saturday’s match against Ebbsfleet. COVID protocols due to be sent tomorrow will not be sent. However, this will be confirmed at a meeting later in the week.
  1. We will echo the statement by 16 clubs from North & South asking for the season to be stopped while support is only available in the form of loans. The Board took notice of the known views of supporters that the Club should prioritise financial stability over football ambition.

ACTIONS:

Nick: to organise statement.

Emma: survey to supporters to be put on hold.

As the meeting was ending, the League’s proposed vote was received.

AGREED: Proposal to be circulated and another meeting convened the following day to confirm the Board’s response.

ACTIONS: Emma to brief the Society’s rep at tomorrow’s meeting.

Date of Next Meeting: 2nd February 2021 8:00am


Report on the Bath City FC Interim Board Meeting

2 February 2021
(Video/Conference call)

Attendees: Nick Blofeld (Chair), Jon Bickley, Cheryl Bradley, Matt Falk, Shane Morgan, Andrew Pierce, John Reynolds, Paul Williams
Observers: Bob Chester, Chris Coles, Carole Banwell
Apologies: Joy Saunders, Emma Sparks

Proposals from the National League for Suspending the Season

 The Board met to consider proposals received from the National League the previous evening. The vote is open for 28 days. It is understood that this timescale is required legally but it is problematic if clubs do not vote before Saturday’s game.

QUESTION FOR LEAGUE: If majority agree to continue, what happens to those clubs who voted to stop?

ACTION: Matt, Paul, Nick, Jon, Shane to sound out other clubs. What do clubs intend to do on Saturday if the vote hasn’t reached 50% in favour of suspension by then?

AGREED: Response to include disappointment that there has been no clarity over the loans vs grants situation before the vote and that there was delay between 16th December and 31st January in releasing the document on the SWSP until the day the window closed for applying, although applications appear to still be being accepted.

AGREED: Staff & players to be put on furlough.

AGREED: Exploratory discussions re potential for grant funding to continue.

Noted: Season tickets – options will be to return cash or carry over to next season. Money received will have to be earmarked for carrying over to next season. The same applies to sponsorship.

AGREED: Will meet before Saturday to consider whether play will continue if League not suspended by then.

VOTE:

Resolution 1 – AGREED unanimously
Resolution 2 – not relevant
Resolution 3 – AGREED unanimously
Resolution 4 – AGREED unanimously

AGREED: Vote to be submitted to League tomorrow/Thursday and formal announcement made then, after players have been notified in person.

ACTION: Jon & Nick to draft announcement.

Date of Next Meeting: TBA


Report on the Bath City FC Interim Board Meeting

4 February 2021
(Video/Conference call)

Attendees: Nick Blofeld (Chair), Jon Bickley, Cheryl Bradley, Matt Falk, Shane Morgan, Andrew Pierce, John Reynolds, Joy Saunders, Paul Williams
Observers: Bob Chester, Chris Coles, Paul Brotherton

  1. Proposals from the National League for Suspending the Season

The Board met to ratify the previous discussions around this Saturday’s upcoming home match v Ebbsfleet, and whether to continue with our decision not to play it (or other subsequent games) in light of hoped-for intervening discussions with other clubs and any updated instructions from the League. Unfortunately there has been no real clarity to emerge over the week across the other clubs, with a variety of different public positions, and fewer clubs than we had hoped joining a public, signed joint declaration.

It was unanimously agreed that for reasons of consistency with our public position, and financial prudence, we would not go ahead with any more games, despite the possible risk of sanctions.

ACTION: Jon & Nick to draft announcement that we will not play “until further notice”.

ACTION: Paul to notify playing staff

  1. Redevelopment

Nick reported that he and Chris had had the opportunity to speak with Greenacre and their new investment partner and that it had been a positive and reassuring conversation. Regarding the B&NES local plan consultation response, it was agreed that a joint response was the right approach and Planning Consultants are in the process of drafting same, with input from all partners. Joy indicated that she believed that individual residents’ responses would also be potentially relevant. Chris noted consultation deadline of 18 February, just two weeks away.

ACTION: Nick to circulate previously-drafted consolidated comments for individuals to submit, and to ensure the developers’ joint response is lodged on time, having been reviewed by the Redevelopment Group.

  1. AOB

Jon highlighted the success of last night’s Meet the Manager event. He commended Jerry for his positive and professional performance, and noted how the supporter feedback regarding the League situation had been overwhelmingly positive and supportive.

Date of Next Meeting: TBA


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