Sadly, The New Year may not prove to be a very happy one for the BBU. Three Directors have given notice that they will resign at the end of this season, on 30 Apr 17. Mark GOODSON (Sec Gen & Finance Director), Eddy LOWE (Sport & Technical Director) and Colonel Adrian THURGOOD (Military Liaison and Director Brit Champs) will follow Colonel Jon CAMPBELL who left last week. Mark & Eddy were Founder Members of the Board in 1996; Adrian has been a Director for 5 years (and as previously stated, Jon for 7)
All four have personal but some common reasons for leaving. Primarily they can give no more time, and all believe that they have brought the sport as far as they can in the UK. None of the four wish to prevent biathlon continuing to be a vibrant internationally represented sport in the UK. To this end they are supporting the Member Elected Director, Carl CARRIER in his efforts to recruit new Board Members including a Chairman, new staff – especially a Sec Gen, and new sponsors. It will be no easy task. Unless there is viable new management in place or designated by 30 Apr 17, the BBU will simply become a shell-company. Once the current financial year accounts have been closed and cleared, which will take a couple of months, it would fold.
We have been in a similar position before – just a few months before Sochi 2014, and were “saved” by a new (but now departed sponsor). But, 3 years ago the long-term future looked brighter than now, and all the Board pledged to continue their largely volunteer work; that is not the case this time around. However, Carl has already approached a number of like-minded individuals to help his “Rescue Plan”. If YOU, or anyone you know, can commit to his last-ditch efforts to keep the BBU afloat, please contact him direct: firstname.lastname@example.org.
But, please contact him as soon as possible, because as Mrs May says, “Exit” means Exit” and 30 Apr 17 is “Exit Day”. The four departing Directors really hope that Carl can come up with a plan and that there will be a “Soft Exit” with much of the existing framework of the BBU remaining intact. If he cannot, or the plans are simply not viable, then it will be closure and a Hard Exit”. Whether an alternative NGB could be formed in the future, as BSS was (see below,) is a matter of conjecture.
Where does this leave the Athletes?
We appreciate that the athletes are our most important asset and our sole raison d’être has always been to get as many of them as possible to perform at the highest level on the international stage. There are plans and a budget until the end of this season to run the World Cup Team in Trimester 2 & 3, and the IBU Cup Team in Trimester 3. Thereafter any new Board will be responsible for all finances based on the consequences of the “Rescue Plan”, and it is too early to guess how these may pan out. The next OWG in PyeongChang are just over a year away and in the short-term we can only advise our athletes and support staff to concentrate on Trimester 2 & 3, but also to talk to Carl and input some ideas.
Do not forget either, that in 2010 Snowsport GB was liquidated just 3 weeks before their FIS discipline athletes were due to go to the OWG in Vancouver. Almost overnight the BSS arose from the ashes and with strong governance (and sponsorship!) has not looked back since. Their Nordic athletes have been an absolute inspiration; hopefully we can all follow suit