This is the Judo blog of Lance Wicks. In this blog I cover mainly Judo and related topics. My Personal blog is over at LanceWicks.com where I cover more geeky topics. Please do leave comments on what you read or use the Contact Me form to send me an email with your thoughts and ideas.

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JudoCoach.com Blog by Lance Wicks

 

 


Happy 2017 


Hello everyone and welcome to 2017!

2016 is over and what a mixed year it was. Both some highs some very low lows.

For me in 2016, we saw the BJA descend even lower after the loss of the European Judo Championships. It has continued to fail to address the serious governance issues suitably.

For those who have not been keeping up to date, the BritishJudo organisation made some terrible decisions in regard to sponsorship deals with the UFC for the European Championships. This caused the cancellation of the championships and was found via an independant report commissioned by BritishJudo and UKSport to be primarily the fault of the (now) former chair Kerrith Brown and the (still) CEO Andrew Scouler. The committee formed to oversee the event chaired by the (now acting) chair Ronnie Saez was also heavily criticized.

Since the loss in 2015, the BJA has steadfastly refused to communicate with the membership about the problems, nor to follow the recommendations given by the report.

In 2016 enough information was able to be shared that a number of clubs (approximately 30) formed along with a larger number of license holders an organisation that attempted to make the BJA respond to the clear issues.

As a member of this group, I popped my head above the parapet and even ended up attending a meeting with the BJA board to try and get some action. This meeting came after repeated less serious attempts; and following a decision by a group of clubs to propose resolutions for the AGM to remove all the board members of the association as they felt that the association deserved the opportunity to discuss the issues and decide if the board members had done enough.

Unfortunately, the result of the meeting was very negative. After what was initially a very combative start, the real discussion started. This ended in a positive reaction; however ended negatively when the chair rather than carrying on the positive; decided to revert to form and posted a report on the meeting in which several inaccurate statements were made. And the one resolution actually put forward was not accepted for the AGM.

Obviously this was infuriating for me and resulted in my decision that unless the CEO and Chair go I shan't be able to work with the BJA.

Since then, little has changed. Their is some governance changes coming; forced upon the BJA by UKSport. Hopefully UKSport is able to extricate the BJA from the mess the BJA leadership has created and extended for so long.

To date, the BJA has only ever said that all is well, that they did no wrong and has yet to acknowledge the damage they have done to the lives, dreams and careers of too many. The board sit in their isolation and have yet to as much as apologise let alone take any responsibility for their failings.

But hey... why worry about little things like integrity when you can be a board member and sit on a board that damages the association whilst being under the misunderstanding it is part of the solution.

As we go into 2017, the BJA persists with it's performance programme that insists that athletes relocate to Walsall. Where they have no record of success and away from places like Camberley and Edinburgh where Olympic success has come from.

Funding in 2016 was a joke and we can expect despite the continued amazing funding from UKSport that the BJA will plead poverty due to spending money on everything except the talent.
More investment is flawed and proven to fail programmes and procedures and staff and continued failing to listen to the athletes and their coaches.

But 2017 is not a year for pessimism.

2017 is the year where the athletes, coaches, license holders and clubs I hope will realise that the BJA needs them... not the other way around.

My sincere hope is that players have the courage to do what is best for them NOT what is best for the BJA board.

I hope that clubs will realise that the BJA is there to serve them, not to command them. That they are the owners of the BJA; not "workforce". That they realise that membership is optional and that they consider seriously if the BJA is worth the time, energy and money they pour into it.

I hope everyone realises that Walsall and Loughborough are NOT the BJA. They are "BritishJudo" and they should be replaced. That the BJA is the clubs and license holders that should have been served by BritishJudo.

I hope that the area and county organisations wake up and realise they have power to act properly and do not have to tow the company line. Too many in 2016 followed the BJA lead and did nothing or accepted the BJA position with no investigation let alone real explanation.

Clubs need to appreciate that they own the association and that the board and the staff report ultimately to them. That their club voice is important. That they should and in fact have an obligation to ensure the BritishJudo acts in the interests of Judo.

The athletes I hope manage to succeed despite the system as they have done to date. I hope as they are now outside of qualification they use that effectively to decrease the leverage the BritishJudo programmes have on them and that they are able to get their situations improved prior to Olympic qualification starting.

Most of all I hope that a virus of caring spreads through the BJA.

This year I hope that I shall have the energy to work in the EJU and IJF more than in 2016 where the internal struggles in the BJA had a detrimental effect on my life in so many ways.

The IJF and EJU are hugely positive groups of people. It frustrates me immensely that BritishJudo is so different and disconnected from these organisations. At times it has actively been working against them and that is ridiculous. Perhaps 2017 is the year when the BJA starts to learn from the EJU and IJF and to grow in the way the EJU and IJF have.

We shall see...
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