This winter proved to be difficult for clubs in the National and Junior National League, particularly due to the tight scheduling of fixtures (the SVA calendar is always squeaky tight) and the horrendous weather at the turn of the year. This led to a backlog of postponed matches, which were set a deadline for completion within the Rules of National Competitions.
Under these circumstances clubs are obliged and expected to work with each other to agree fixtures and get the matches played within the allotted timescales. Unfortunately some clubs did not follow the correct process and the Competitions Commission along with the SVA Board and Office started to receive complaints and concerns that the proper procedure had not been followed.
Routinely competitions matters are handled by e-mail correspondence within the Commission, this being the most efficient and effective way for its normal business to be conducted. But recent events were considered serious enough to merit the convening of a full meeting of the Competitions Commission to investigate these complaints and concerns, and to have an action plan to allow it to move forward to complete this season and set the parameters for 2011/12.
From this meeting it became apparent that not all recent decisions had been made within the Rules of National Competition. This risked distorting the outcomes of our competitions and the full Commission decided to review these decisions.
Against this background Commission President Steve Scott agreed to step down from the Commission with immediate effect. He will continue in his role as Competitions Administrator, providing administrative support to the group and working within the SVA guidelines.
The meeting set aside recent decisions made, analysed the facts of each individual case in turn and reapplied the correct rules to the relevant league games. These decisions have been relayed to the clubs concerned, and it is hoped that this will satisfactorily conclude this unfortunate situation, as we look ahead to some exciting fixtures in the cup events as well as the playoffs.
The Commission also took the following steps to ensure that it operates to best practice and is impartial and transparent in its decision-making:
- Mike Heaney will take up post as President of the Competitions Commissions with immediate effect.
- The Competitions Commission will now seek to recruit new members who should have a good understanding of the Rules of National Competition.
- The Competitions Commission will meet physically at least twice per year to review decisions made and assess the performance of the league administration.
- Communication internally and externally with clubs and the SVA office will be more open and transparent to ensure clubs realise that the Commission is working in their best interests.
- The Commission will seek to clarify and enhance the rules it applies in reaching competition related decisions
- The Commission along with the CEO will fully support the end of season review of competition matters.
- The SVA CEO and Board shall regularly meet with the new Commission President and attend Competition Commission meetings.
As the new Competitions President, I hope that you will all support the above changes and action steps being taken. If you would like to contact me directly please do so by emailing the SVA Office and they shall pass on your comments.
President, SVA Competitions Commission
11th March 2011