Dear member nations, friends and colleagues,
I'm currently entering into my seventh week of isolation and luckily I have been safe and well. Many of you will have experienced friends and family who have been affected and I wish you all the best as you deal with these very individual and personal circumstances.
Some of you could well be entering into situations where governments are relaxing isolation rules. With this in mind, your IWRF Board met on April the 28th and have reviewed and updated the IWRF’s position statement in regards to the Covid 19 pandemic.
I've also been able to focus on wheelchair rugby and you will see below an overview of some of the things that the IWRF have been doing as well as upcoming projects.
Our committees have been busy working through a revised competition structure. The CEO, Steve Griffiths and I had a video call with all of the eight nations that are qualified for the Paralympics in 2021. We had full attendance and received good feedback and questions which we will follow-up on.
We will be continuing this membership engagement and I'm pleased to announce that we will host a video call for all member nations on the 25th of May. There will be two timeslots available 8 AM and 8 PM UTC. Please put these dates in your diary and further information will be made available. This is the members opportunity to hear our plans for the next three years as well as hear your much-needed feedback.
Steve Griffiths has been busy and is currently evaluating the organisation. This is an ideal time to look at the various areas, membership services and overall structure of the sport globally. I have been very impressed with the work that I have seen so far. What we are both conscious of, is making you aware of the outcomes. Our intention is to continue to do this through the website, social media, newsletter, membership communications and using video technology more and more. The target date to complete this evaluation is early July.
IWRF Office - We will be creating a central IWRF Office which will deal with various services we have currently identified. You will start to see more communications being sent from this central office.
One particular area of importance is our online Membership and Licensing System. This was launched in early 2019 and we are aware that nations and individuals were allowed to participate without being members or licensed. This is something that we cannot allow in the future.
There will be some disruptions in communications as we work through this and we will aim to minimise it as much as possible. I hope you can be patient with us, as we set up this much-needed membership service.
Financial position - I have spoken with you previously about our reliance on membership and individual licensing fees. This has become more apparent during these unprecedented and extraordinary times. Financially, we have had to ensure we do not commit to any significant costs in 2020. Of course, with the cancellation of events and international travel, this has reduced our costs (but also our revenue). As such, member nations will need to pay their membership fees for 2020.
Recuperation of payments - Many of our member nations also have outstanding individual licensing fees from events that took place in 2019 as well as the 2020 Paralympic qualification tournament. These outstanding debts are also required to be paid. What we will look at is how we can extend individual licensing fees into 2021 due to the fact that competition has not taken place this year.
It is only through the recuperation of these outstanding payments that the IWRF can operate confidently throughout 2021. I fully understand the challenges that you will be having at the national level but this is crucial to ensure the long-term viability of our sport, WADA compliancy, as well as inclusion in the Paralympic Games.
Individual member nations will continue to be contacted on these matters above.
2020 General Assembly - As per previous correspondence, you are aware of the events that have been cancelled. I must also inform you that the 2020 General Assembly has been postponed until 2021. At this stage, we are not in a position to provide further guidance as to what month this could take place. We will be evaluating this when clear information is available regards international travel and the ability to host large gatherings.
We are however looking at whether we can host a virtual meeting at the end of 2020, that can deal with the formalities required. In particular, the presentation of our financial statements.
I wish you all the best, keep safe.