Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Representing Scotland on the World and European Curling Federations

Do you have the qualifications to represent Scottish Curling interests on the World Curling Federation and European Curling Federation?

The Royal Club has four representatives at WCF meetings. These are appointed by, and report to, the Royal Club’s Board of Directors. The Chief Executive is a fixed appointment and the other three representatives are appointed for a period of three years. Some years ago, the latter positions were opened up to the membership at large, to ensure the most suitable candidates could be appointed, even if they were not already involved in the hierarchy of the Royal Club. Hew Chalmers was the first to be appointed from the general membership, and more recently Edith Loudon was the second appointment made in this way. There is one vacancy available, since Jeanette Johnston has completed two terms, and nominations are being sought for this post.

So, do you feel you have the qualifications to do the job for Scotland in the international political arena? Your responsibilities would be to attend and contribute to meetings which may take about eight days per year. These mainly coincide with World and European Championships. You would need to attend and contribute to the External Relations Committee of the Royal Club. Your responsibility would be to represent the views of the Royal Club Board and members at the WCF/ECF and try to influence decisions favourably for Scotland. You would have to be in a position to inform the Royal Club Board of WCF/ECF issues, developments and decisions which are likely to affect Scotland, and to contribute to the WCF/ECF report to the Royal Club’s AGM. You would have the responsibility to build relationships with representatives from other member associations to promote and sustain the position of the Royal Club as the ‘mother club of curling', as well as playing an active part in committees, work groups or projects as required by WCF/ECF.

There's more about applying for the position here, and you have until Friday, August 5, to do so. You need to be a member of the Royal Club, have in depth knowledge of the Royal Club’s policies/practices/organisation of curling in Scotland, extensive knowledge of international competition, and an understanding of elite athlete issues. You will have good communication and presentation skills and the ability to network and influence. You need to have credibility as an international ambassador for Scotland with the membership of the Royal Club.

Travel and accommodation for meetings is paid by the Royal Club through support from UK Sport.

I asked Hew Chalmers how he viewed the past few years. He responded, "Yes, I have really enjoyed being a rep. The WCF is working well and does a great deal for curling. It is now led by some very good people. The individual countries reps are also much more knowledgeable and has as a result created much better debate, especially around competitions and governance."

So, what sort of person would be a good fit to the position available? Hew says, "The ideal person to come on as a new rep would require to have the time to attend the two major championships, the Europeans and the Worlds, and have the ability to network well with other people to help bring people onside when and if you require support for something."

Edith notes that potential representatives, "... will need to be able to give up a fair bit of time to travel to all the meetings. I would say there are now past international curlers coming into the frame as reps so it would be good to get a mix of experienced people."

The representatives are volunteers and are not paid. As noted above some funding comes from UK Sport. Through an 'influencing strategy, those at UK Sport like to see the people they invest in coming through sports into leadership positions where they are then able to influence their sport, for example, in helping to bring major sporting events to the UK. Hew's appointment to the Board of the British Olympic Association (see here) can certainly be seen as a positive outcome that their strategy is working.

Mind you, being an international representative , however interesting, may not always be easy. The difficulties faced by the European Curling Federation in the past couple of years, culminating in the resignation of the president, are an example. One only has to read between the lines of the recent meeting of the ECF Executive Board in Munich (see the report here) to imagine the many headaches for those involved!