Report to the EGF
Annual General Meeting 2002: Ideas and suggestions for a new or revised
Henric Bergsåker, 12 July 2002.
The constitution of the EGF was last
amended at the AGM in Strausberg 2000. The aims of the latest amendments [1-5]
were mainly to introduce structures for handling appeals against EGF decisions
and internal conflicts in member associations which they have not been able to
solve themselves, and to define some fairness criteria in the relation between
the member associations and individual goplayers. Some aspects of admission to
the EGF and a number of minor language- and other details were also modified.
At the AGM in Strausberg and in the following years it has appeared that there
are wishes and ideas for further revisions, or even for a complete rewriting of
the constitution. A discussion paper, which was assembled under the
responsibility of the EGF Executive in spring 2000, also aimed at a more
extensive rewriting of the constitution . The president of the EGF has asked
me to collect suggestions and ideas for the future constitution from the EGF
members and from individuals who take an interest in the matter, and put them
together into a report for the AGM in 2002. Consequently the most important
part in what follows will be a structured list of the various ideas which have
come up, and the motivations which have been put forward for the different
suggestions, as well as some arguments which have been raised against them.
There will not be any attempt to establish any priorities or preferences
between the suggestions, but a brief discussion of how the proposals differ and
how they are connected and how to proceed with the work on the constitution.
Hopefully listing the various ideas and wishes for constitutional revisions in
a single report will be helpful in the coming discussions and will make it
easier to structure this work.
2. Proposals and suggestions.
The proposals and suggestions collected
so far have been of three different kinds: 1) Adopting the constitution of some
other international sports- or games organisation, with modifications [6-11].
2) Changing the way the Executive committee works, such that each member of the
Executive becomes responsible for specific kinds of matters [12-13]. 3) Various
suggestions of minor amendments to the present constitution [14-18].
To adopt the constitution of another organisation,
It has been suggested to take over the
constitution of some other international organisation. The motivation that has
been given for this is that it may make it easier to make go a sport with
Olympic association or to gain entrance to the GAISF (General Association of International
Sports Federations). Thus for instance in spring 2001 Zoran Mutabzija presented
a complete constitution proposal based on the constitution of the FIDE
(Fédération Internationale des Échecs), with some words changed . Likewise
the Italian member has suggested adopting the FIDE constitution, with
modifications ( not specified) [7,8]. It has not been
made clear yet how or why adopting the constitution of another organisation
would facilitate Olympic association and it has not yet been specified which
aspects of e.g.
the FIDE constitution would be desirable or important for Olympic association.
The Swedish member found that a more extensively modified version of the FIDE
constitution could be acceptable  but did not see any obvious reason to
prefer it to the present EGF constitution [10,16]. It has been pointed out that
it may not be appropriate to copy the constitution of a world organisation,
since the EGF is not itself a world organisation [12,9].
In particular the objection has been made that the constitutions of larger
organisations assume employed professional staff, which the EGF could not
afford . The FIDE constitution has also been severely criticised,
based on recent chess history and for being detrimental to the rights of the
individual goplayers .
2.2 To create a Board of Directors.
Tony Atkins has suggested to modify
the role of the Executive Committee into a board of directors under a president
. In this model, each director would be responsible for a functional area,
such as Corporate and Finance, Information, Tournaments, Rules and Regulations
and Development. The motivations given for this are hopes for better efficiency
, clearer lines of responsibility [12,13] and
alignment of the directors' jobs with areas of interest, making the positions
easier to fill . It has also been claimed that such a model would be better
suited for Olympic plans or better to handle membership disputes .
2.3 Suggestions to amend the present constitution.
Some have commented in the direction that
no larger revisions of the EGF constitution are necessary and that only minor
corrections would be required [9,10,16,17]. The
following minor amendments of the constitution have been suggested:
1) Introduce the possibility to replace an EGF member with another
national go association, e.g. in case the old member is found no longer to be
representative of the goplayers in the country [4,15].
2) State the transparency of the EGF more explicitly, in particular to
ensure that the correspondence of members of the Executive Committee is made available
to the members, as has been stated by the AGM:s in
2000 and 2001, taking into account that most of the correspondence today is in
electronic form [8,16,15]. This means modifying article 8.3 of the
3) Change the requirements on nominations of candidates for the
executive, in particular not to require nomination of people already in office
for reelection [14,16,17].
4) Increase the length of term for the Executive Committee [2,6].
5) Include an explicit statement in the constitution to say that the
EGF members should be democratic , following the statement by the AGM in
6) Add procedures to handle the situation if the executive resigns [17,15].
7) Introduce election for non-Executive posts .
8) Change the voting rules at the AGM to give the big associations more
weight, more in agreement with the number of members .
9) Change article 6 of the constitution to ensure that the meeting can
invite an individual to speak and remove the possibility to keep secret any
part of the AGM .
10) Scrap the appeals commission .
11) Make the auditors responsible for commenting on the performance of
the finance committee .
12) Review the process of how the EGF
gets money from the members, so that it becomes clearer and more predictable
how much the EGF is to collect from each country and how many members each
association is to pay for, when to pay and what happens if the fees are not
13) Review the process of proposals for the AGM,
in particular to allow time for preparation of alternative proposals if a
motion has been distributed only two months before the AGM .
14) Introduce a possibility to make urgent decisions at the AGM on
matters which have not been announced two months before, taking due care by
qualified majority that decisions can not be made which can be contrary to what
they would have been at a meeting with all members gathered and with adequate
time for preparation .
When it has been suggested to take over
the constitution of another organisation, it has not been made clear which
aspects of possible model constitutions would be desirable. The discussion of
this option would probably be helped if we can state more precisely what needs
to be changed.
One dimension that seems to be at stake
is the division of power, authority and independence between the EGF, its
members and the individual goplayers. Some comments have clearly expressed a
wish to give the national go associations and EGF members more power and
authority with respect to the individual goplayers, e.g. the annex 10 to the
president's New Year letter 2000 . Some of the negative comments on the FIDE
proposal address this very aspect . Similarly
a choice has to be made as to how much authority the EGF should keep for itself
and how much to give away to its member associations. On the one hand there
have been demands for more "teeth" for the EGF and more possibilities for
sanctions against member associations [4,15], on the other hand the FIDE
proposal was criticised for trying to impose too many "non enforceable
restrictions and conditions" on the members . Some comments even suggest
giving authority away to external national bodies: "a new national go
organisation may only be recognised if it has previously been accepted by the
highest sports authority of the country".
If this power division problem is the driving force behind the urge to take
over a constitution from another organisation, or if other specific aspects
are, then it would seem most appropriate to address and discuss these issues
If on the other hand the proponents of
taking over the constitution of FIDE or similar themselves do not know what
aspects of the other constitution they want, then the appropriate course of
action may be either to ask the IOC or the GAISF directly what requirements
they have on the constitutions of member associations, or to investigate a fair
number of international sports organisations and find out on which points their
constitutions differ significantly from that of the EGF. Clearly anything which
not all the GAISF members have can not be a necessary condition for entering
the GAISF. It may also be a good idea to discuss openly the underlying question
if Olympic association is desirable or not, and if the EGF members prefer to
see go as a sport or as something more and different . Another relevant
aspect to consider seems to be if the role of the EGF is to remain a regional
go federation or if it should become a world organisation.
It is easy to believe that a board of directors may be more efficient
than the present Executive Committee. Questions that
immediately come to mind may be: With a Board of
Directors structure, can one exclude that there are overlap zones where it is
unclear who is responsible? The rules have to make it very specifically clear
who decides on each issue in the particular case. Should each director
appointed for a specific office directly by the AGM or how? Is there a risk of
losing anything valuable in terms of democratic control or transparency, doing
away with a more collective responsibility? Are there other similar
organisations, which already have such a structure? If there are, then maybe those who wish to
take the constitution from another organisation may be satisfied as well with
copying an appropriate structure. One may also ask whether it wouldn't be
possible for the executive to delegate tasks internally without the need for a
revision of the constitution.
It should be fairly straightforward to work out precise proposals for
amendments from most of the points 1-14 in section 2.3 and find out if they
have sufficient support from the EGF members. They can be discussed
independently of each other. Some proposals are more complex, thus for instance
it would seem that the proposal (8) to modify the voting rules also requires
some way for the EGF to verify that the member associations state their number
of members correctly. Some of the proposals have been up for discussion before,
for example point (1) about a possibility to replace a member which has faded
away or is otherwise no longer representative was discussed at the AGM in Strausberg 2000 and did not meet with sufficient approval.
Likewise, point (4) of increasing the terms of office was discussed in
connection with the revision in Canterbury 1992, when a 3
year term had been suggested , but the proposal was discarded. Still, there
is no harm in discussing them again, in case the opinions have changed with
more recent experience.
In conclusion, the way forwards seems to
be: 1) If it is believed desirable to copy the constitution from another
organisation, then try to specify why, so that the revision can be discussed in
more concrete terms. If it is not known why, only that organisations with
different constitutions are in a better position somehow, then make a
systematic survey of what the significant differences are with the EGF
constitution, so that concrete revisions can be suggested. 2) Formulate in
concrete terms an option based on a board of directors, possibly after having
consulted the constitutions of other organisations and taking care that
valuable aspects of the present EGF constitution are not lost. 3) Formulate
concrete proposals based on the suggestions in section 2.3. Having done that, find
out if the proposals have sufficient support from the EGF members. Since
constitutional revisions require ¾ majority, they have
to be made in wide consensus. Hence it can surely save time if the EGF members
are continuously informed of how the work progresses and if proposals which
clearly meet with strong resistance are abandoned.
(Items indicated with (A) are attached to
this communication. Items indicated (D) have been distributed to the EGF
members on earlier occasions. The author can provide copies of any
of the documents if requested. Some sections in
the attached documents have been omitted, either because they don't address
constitutional issues, or because the authors don't wish them to be reported.
These omissions are indicated with (…).
from notary Adriaan Helmig to Erik Puyt 3/2 2000. (D)
points for a new constitution, annex 10 to president's newyear letter 2000. (A,D)
Executive's proposal from spring 2000. (D)
Swiss member's proposal from spring 2000. (D)
British member's proposal from spring 2000. (D)
Mutabzijas proposal from spring 2001 to take the constitution of the
federation FIDE, with some words
from the Italian member to the AGM 2001 to work on adapting the FIDE
from the Italian member for the AGM 2002. (A,D)
 Comment spring 2001 by Alan Held, former
president of the EGF,
Zoran Mutabzija's proposal. (D)
 Comment spring 2001 by the Swedish member on Zoran Mutabzija's
 Comment June 2002 by Sergio Parimbelli, former EGF treasurer, on
 Tony Atkins' suggestion in the May letter 2002
and elsewhere. (A)
 Comments from the Polish member June 2002 on Atkins' suggestions.
 Suggestions June 2002 by Matti Siivola. (A)
 Suggestions and comments June-July 2002 by Alan Held. (A)
 Suggestions June 2002 by the Swedish member. (A)
 Tony Atkins, suggestions July 2002. (A)
 Suggestions by Martin Stiassny, president of the German member.
 Suggestions by the German member, July 2002. (A)