Members attending: Peter Rhodes (President), Fred. Swarbrick (Chairman), Reg
Robinson (Secretary), John Powell (Treasurer), Howard Hughes, Jon Daldry, Craig
Hine, Ian Cousins,
Apologies for absence. Tony Ayin, Greg King
Meeting opened 19.30 hrs.
The minutes of the last meeting were duly approved. Proposed by Fred Swarbrick and
seconded by Ian Cousins.
It was reported by Fred Swarbrick that sponsorship for 1 league to the sum of £500
had been secured by Tony Ayin and that he was in negotiations with other parties
with a view to securing a main sponsor for next season. Progress was being made with
Jim Gooch regarding upgrades to the web site and the committee will be further
advised about this at the next meeting.
MEETING WITH STEVE MCCAFFERTY.
The purpose of this meeting was for Fred Swarbrick, Reg Robinson and John Powell to
report to the committee on the meeting recently held with Steve McCafferty of RFU
(North), and representatives of Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria CB’s. It is alleged
that certain clubs have complained to their CB’s that some of the teams in NOWIRUL
are required to travel too far to fulfil away matches and also that the rules of NOWIRUL
competitions are too strict and too rigorously applied. Some feel unfairly. Such clubs
allege that their voices are not being heard and that NOWIRUL are responsible to no
official body and therefore they have no higher authority to hear their appeals.
Consequently they have involved their CB’s who in turn have contacted RFU (North)
who have then spoken to Twickenham. At RFU HQ. Chris Burns, and Terry Burwell in the
early stages, have been involved in an attempt to find a resolution to the problem. In the
meantime the funding promised to NOWIRUL by the RFU has been suspended in spite of
NOWIRUL committee members carrying out all requirements regarding updating
Rugby First etc.
It appears that Steve McCafferty favours the creation of a “Governance Committee” to
oversee the workings of NOWIRUL. This committee would consist of three members
from NOWIRUL alongside three representatives from the CB’s with a chairman from
the North holding a casting vote. Jon Daldry pointed out that in fact NOWIRUL is
responsible to the clubs in its organisation and that all are invited to the AGM held
each May to voice any complaints or put a point of view. In fact, of 104 clubs
represented in NOWIRUL less than 20 choose to send a representative to the AGM
on each occasion.
Peter Rhodes thought that NOWIRUL is responsible to the RFU as shown by attending
disciplinary proceedings and the like. Peter Rhodes consulted the RFU hand book and
quoted Rule 13(a), (b) and (c) which appears to delegate the running of competitions to
the regional RFU committees (i.e.) RFU (North) who in turn delegated the running of
local competitions to the organising committees (i.e.) NOWIRUL. He offered to study
the wording of these rules in greater detail and after consulting with others report to the
committee in more detail. The question was asked as to what in fact a governance
committee would do? In fact it would improve things very little and probably hold up
the decision making process to make the running of the leagues more difficult than it
already is. It may also force us in to decisions to benefit a few clubs but be to the
detriment of many others.
Craig Hine produced evidence from the internet of a league system operating in the
Thames Valley area covering 5 counties. This was a much smaller set up than
NOWIRUL but with similar aims. Their responsibility in terms of governance was
simply to produce an annual report to Twickenham on their activities and why should
we not do the same?
Fred Swarbrick reported a comment which he had heard informally which declared
that NOWIRUL had “Ruined Cumbrian Rugby” Several members pointed out that
such Cumbrian teams which were playing in the NOWIRUL were there at their own
request. Most had been turned down at their first request to join as it was felt that
some teams would be unwilling to travel to away games at their location. However
the committee relented as the leagues gradually grew larger and the travelling problem
was seen to be much less than at first feared. Without exception those Cumbrian teams
within NOWIRUL have prospered due to now enjoying regular, competitive rugby on
a weekly basis. It was thought that none of these teams would relish the thought of
returning to a system where games were regularly cancelled and many games were a
mis-match. Craig Hine produced a copy of a current Cumbrian league which showed
that very few fixtures had been fulfilled, and indeed some sides appeared to have
played no games at all in the current season. Reg Robinson said that at one point he
had volunteered the assistance of NOWIRUL in the running of rugby in Cumbria but
this offer has not been taken up.
Ian Cousins proposed that we should take a vote on how to proceed from here.
Do we accept a governance committee as described earlier to oversee the operations
of the NOWIRUL committee?
Proposed by Howard Hughes, Seconded by Peter Rhodes.
Do we accept a member of the RFU(North) committee to sit on our committee with
full voting rights?
Proposed by Howard Hughes, Seconded by Reg Robinson.
Should we produce an annual report on our activities to be made available to all
Proposed by Craig Hine, Seconded by Jon Daldry.
Howard Hughes volunteered to compile such a report.
Meeting closed 2200 hrs.