Contributed by: Brett Northey Friday, October 12 2007 @ 02:33 am ACST
At the recent BARFL AGM there were several interesting changes in personnel. President Remon Gazal stood down as he is returning to Australia, and long time committee member Donald Eastwood did not stand for re-election. Also departing is Chris O'Neil. Taking on the top job is Sam Percy of the Wandsworth Demons - reprising a role he held for three years from 2002 to 2004. Other notable changes were the addition of Kat Conner from the Manchester cliub, and Glen Ocsko, who readers may recall was the author the UK Footy plan discussed in UK Footy unity plan being debated and BARFL respond to UK Footy plan. The other committee members are Daniel Bussau (Treasurer), Martin Smith and Luke Shaw. Comments from the new President suggest that the mood is now right to push through significant structural changes.
A common problem cited by the committee in the past is the large amount of work just running the London leagues each week. The Regional League was an added strain on that, though its collapse with the arrival of the ARUK leagues in theory should have reduced that load, though it clearly lifted the duress. Restructuring has been a topic for several years, and a recent example of a possible form is the thrust of the UK Footy plan. It recognises the need to separate the roles of the day to day running of the BARFL from the overall leadership of the game in the United Kingdom. With Ocsko now on the committee it's expected he will be keen to see some structural changes, and as we've stated before, the beauty of democratic organisations is that if the members want to make changes they can. It seems the appetite may now be there.
The new President is of a similar opinion on the need for re-structuring, and has commented on the BARFL forum to that effect. These changes will also presumably attempt to address the differences between the BARFL and ARUK. Obviously tremendous amounts of energy were expended on politics in the past couple of years, and finding a way to create peace will be the new committee's greatest challenge. There are already some promising signs of the two sides working together either as one, or at least agreeing to an umbrella organisation overseeing footy in the UK, though clearly bitterness remains which could challenge a unified approach when the time comes for concessions to be made.
You can read the in-depth thoughts of the new President on what the major changes should be, including a new body to oversee footy in London, freeing up the BARFL to take the national approach. A new title, at least for marketing, is also called for, with various suggestions canvassed, including Footy Britain and AFL Britain. Refreshingly Percy's thoughts on these matters can be read on the Wandworth Demons' website here[*1] .