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Before the meeting started the representatives of Slough, Farnham & Guildford, Spectrum Angels drew to the Chairman’s attention a letter from Colin Deller arguing that this meeting was unconstitutional. These teams supported this letter and asked that the AGM be abandoned. The Chairman noted their objection and refused their request.



1. Apologies were received from Haydn Pitchforth, Colin Deller, Brendan Glynane, and Alistair Skene.



2. The Chairman apologised to the membership that the minutes of the last AGM were unavailable. He explained that the previous Secretary had been flooded recently and was not able to produce the minutes at present. He hoped that they would be available soon. Acting on a suggestion from the membership, the Chairman agreed that once the minutes were presented and agreed by the Committee, they would be published in Octopush News.



3. The following reports were given:


CHAIRMAN (Bernie Tarling)

The Chairman gave an upbeat report of the year. The BOA finances were healthy, Competitions had been well run, OCR & Octopush News were being regularly published. He reported that the BOA had joined the British Underwater Sports Association (BUSA) which would be debated more fully under Any Other Business (AOB).




The Competition Manager explained that in addition to the usual tournaments, he had instigated three new ones – Regional Men’s Tournament, University Tournament, Mixed Tournament – all three would now be regular features in the BOA Competitions calendar. A new way of running the semi-finals was also introduced – the round robin – which had been a great success as 24 teams had competed (a further 4 teams could also have played if they had paid their fees on time). He also pointed out that all Competitions broke even or made a profit for the BOA.


SECRETARY (Grant Mosedale)

The Secretary noted that he had received two letters in the past week from Colin Dellor and Claire Straitton (both arguing that this AGM was unconstitutional and should be postponed). He gave no further report.


VICE-CHAIRMAN (& Press Officer (Marion Wheeler))

The Vice-Chairman noted that her three years' service were up and under the Constitution she had to stand down. She outlined the press coverage that had been given to Octopush over the past year (see attachment). 20-50 press notices were sent out before each BOA national event, all of which was at no cost to the BOA.




The Director of Coaching explained that as a result of a request from Colin Deller, a coaching scheme was being developed. A first attempt at a coaching course will be held in Orkney for Alistair Skene shortly.



The Chief Referee noted that referees courses had been held all over the Country on a regular basis. This would continue. Further courses would be delayed however, until after the World Championships (due to his participation as a referee in this event). He paid tribute to the help given him in running referees courses by Batley Octopush Club.



The Records Officer noted that there were now 104 BOA registered teams at all levels. There were 49 senior teams. He noted that this was the best level of participation for some years.



TREASURER (Haydn Pitchforth)

The Treasurer noted that his three-year term was up and gave his resignation. He noted that there was currently 4,408 in the bank – which included the income from the finals but not the expenditure, there was also a total of 1,000 that had already been committed but had yet to be taken from the account. The accounts for last year had been audited and that this years accounts were in the process of being audited – this gave the BOA three consecutive years of audited accounts which is a requirement of the Sports Council before consideration for grant funding. He believed that the membership fee may need to be raised slightly to cover the increased Public Liability costs and also to cover members Personal Insurance. He also recommended that the new treasurer search for a more competitive bank account as the current account with the Yorkshire Bank had proved to be expensive when trying to transfer funds overseas (fortunately the BOA was able to use an alternate source and not pay excessive fees). He also asked the membership to decide whether the cost of joining BUSA should come out of the 20% of BOA revenue set aside for international competition or from general BOA revenue (See AOB). Finally he nominated Alistair Skene for BOA Personality of the Year – citing the work that he has put into junior/youth Octopush over the past few years.



4. Farnham & Guildford (with support) questioned whether elections could take place when the AGM was in their view constitutionally illegal. Reading replied that it was not in their view illegal and proceeded to attack those that opposed the AGM as unconstitutional. The Chairman decided that the best way forward would be to have a vote on whether the AGM should continue or not. The Membership voted in favour of the AGM continuing 11 – 9 (with 4 abstentions). The following teams voted against continuing the AGM: – Brighton, Dunstable, Farnham & Guildford, London Ladies, Northampton, Putney, Slough, Southampton, Spectrum Angels. The four teams that abstained were Batley Juniors, Dewsbury, Portsmouth University, Yorkshire Ladies. The meeting continued with the election of new officers.

5. As a motion had been put forward concerning the eligibility of posts for the Committee, it was decided that this would be voted on before the election of officers.

The motion put forward by Reading Octopush Club (seconded by Slough Octopush Club) came in two parts. Firstly, that the BOA Committee should be made up of the following elected Officers: Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary, Competition Manager, Publication Officer, Chief Referee. Any other elected Officers such as Director of Coaching, Development Officer, National Team Managers, etc. would not serve on the Committee but would submit progress reports on their activities as requested by the Committee; Secondly, that no time limit is set for the duration of service on the Committee, provided that the member is elected on a yearly basis at the AGM (the current position under the Constitution is that the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer can only service – subject to re-election for a maximum of three years, after which they must stand down).

6. The Reading representative introduced the first part of his motion explaining that in his view there were too many members on the Committee to make it work effectively. In response to questions from the membership on who the non-Committee Officers would be answerable to, job descriptions for the various Committee posts, the role of the Press Officer on the Committee, and whether the Competitions Manager would be in charge of National Teams, the Reading representative replied that all Officers would be answerable to the Committee; in his opinion, the Press Officer did not affect the running of the BOA, and so was not an essential post for the Committee; the Competitions Manager would not be in charge of National Teams. The Chairman called for a vote on the proposal but indicated that he was opposed to the proposal, as he believed that anyone elected to serve as an Officer of the BOA should be on the main Committee and entitled to a vote. A vote was taken and the proposal was turned down (9 - 8).

7. The Reading representative explained the second part of his proposal saying that he believed that Officers doing good jobs would be lost to the BOA if they had to resign after three years. It was in the BOA’s interest to keep on Officers if they were doing a good job. Cliff Underwood agreed pointing out that the membership still had to re-elect Officers. The representatives from Farnham & Guildford and Slough disagreed. In their view changing the Committee regularly was a good thing as it stops people getting the idea that the Committee is a job for life or worse being seen as a dictatorship. Committee members should be passing on their knowledge and skills. The Chairman said that he did not disagree with Farnham or Slough but that as the BOA Chairman was now also the BOA representative on the management Committee of BUSA, he wanted the opportunity to ensure that the money the BOA had invested in this new organisation was being spent wisely. Under the current rules as this was his third year in Office he would have to resign. The Slough representative proposed (seconded by West Wickham) that this proposal should be amended to allow Officers to stay in post for a maximum of Five years. The membership voted in favour of this amendment to the proposal (only Southampton voted for the original proposal). The Chairman called a vote on the amended proposal. The proposal was passed (14-2 Farnham & Guildford and Spectrum Angels voting against).

8. Elections for the new Committee now took place. The following nominations for posts were received:



Bernie Tarling Proposed by Reading Seconded by Slough

Colin Deller Proposed by Farnham seconded by Spectrum Angels


A vote was taken and Bernie Tarling was elected.


Vice Chairman:

Marion Wheeler Proposed by Leeds Beavers Seconded by Reading

Colin Deller Proposed by Farnham

Marion Wheeler explained that the was qualified to do Press work and wanted to be involved in the running of the sport. She was active in the running of the sport in a number of different areas.


A vote was taken and Marion Wheeler was elected.


Grant Mosedale Proposed by Reading Seconded by Batley

Mel Waterworth Proposed by Farnham Seconded by Brighton

As Mel could not attend the AGM, the Farnham representative read out a letter on her behalf in which Mel outlined her suitability for the post.


A vote was taken and Grant Mosedale was elected.


Keith Hadlin Proposed by Farnham Seconded by Reading

As Keith could not attend the AGM, the Farnham representative spoke on his behalf, declaring complete faith in his ability to do the job competently. The Reading representative echoed this view. At this point the Chairman proposed that the job of Membership Secretary be amalgamated with that of Treasurer as he felt that there was little point in having someone else collect the membership fees and then have to pass the fees onto the Treasurer. It would be more sensible for the Treasurer to collect the membership fees. The membership agreed.


A vote was taken and Keith Hadlin was elected.

Competitions Manager:

Tony Mourad, the current Competitions Manager was nominated but refused to put himself up for re-election despite being the unanimous candidate of the members present. He explained that he could no longer work whilst others were "trying to stab him in the back". He was particularly upset at the way some member teams had tried to hijack the BOA national prize-giving the previous evening for their own purposes. Despite the best efforts of all members present, Tony Mourad refused to stand. The election for this post would be discussed at the first Committee meeting.


BOA Records Manager:

Cliff Underwood Proposed by Leeds Seconded by Slough.


A vote was taken and Cliff Underwood was elected. He gave notice that he would not seek re-election the following year.


Development Officer:

It was unclear whether the current Development Officer (Colin Deller) wished to stand again. As no other Nominations were received, the election to this post would be discussed at the first Committee meeting.


Junior/Youth Manager:

No nominations were received although it was noted that Malcolm Johnson was interested in the Job. The election to this post would be discussed at the first Committee meeting.


National Referee:

Neil Dixon Proposed by Reading Seconded by Islington.


A vote was taken and Neil Dixon was elected.



CMAS Representative:

Cliff Underwood Proposed by Batley


A vote was taken and Cliff Underwood was elected. As BUSA now represented the BOA at CMAS, this appointment would need BUSA approval.


UK Team Managers:


Dave Simpson was nominated and elected.


Alan Mitchell Proposed by Reading

Marion Wheeler Proposed by Putney

As the World Championships were only five weeks away, the Women’s team felt that it would be in the best interest of the team to delay this election until after the World Championships. This was agreed. The election for this post would be discussed at the first Committee meeting.


National Director of Coaching:

Claire Straiton Proposed by Spectrum Angels Seconded by Putney


A vote was taken and Clare Straiton was elected.

The AGM had elected the following people to form the new Committee:

Chairman: Bernie Tarling

Vice-Chairman: Marion Wheeler

Treasurer: Keith Hadlin

Secretary: Grant Mosedale

National Referee: Neil Dixon

Director of Coaching: Clare Straiton

Publications Manager: Cliff Underwood

Records Officer: Cliff Underwood

UK Representative to CMAS: Cliff Underwood

UK Men’s Team Manager: Dave Simpson

The posts of Competitions Manager, Development Officer and Junior/Youth Manager and UK Women’s Team Manager remain vacant. The following Clubs wished it to be minuted that they abstained from all election votes: Dunstable, Brighton Putney.



9. Reading Octopush Club had proposed an amendment (seconded by Islington) to the eligibility rules of players for the national squads. The proposal would lay down the rules that the Team Manager would follow when picking a UK squad. Priority would be given to players in the following order:

1 – British players resident in the UK and playing for BOA teams in national competitions and league matches.

2 – Players resident in the UK for two years who are not British and who play for BOA registered teams at national competitions and league matches.

3 – British players who are not resident in the UK, subject to a written request to be submitted by the team manager to the BOA Committee via the Competition Manager. The Committee would then approve or disapprove the nomination.

The Reading representative felt that BOA members and those playing for BOA clubs should have priority when selecting National squads and his proposal reflected this. The Women’s Team Coach (Putney Representative) pointed out that currently non-residents were not stopping anyone taking a place in the national Women’s squad. In his view there were currently no British players competent to take their place. The Chairman thought that UK Team Managers had agreed that no-UK residents would not be picked. Cliff Underwood pointed out that CMAS rules required a residents permit for a non-British player to play for a national squad and asked that the proposal be amended to reflect this. He went on to say that this proposal had no place in the Constitution and should be put in the rules as "advice to Managers" only. During discussion it became clear that there was agreement that this proposal should become "advice to Managers" and that priority one and two should be merged and those eligible under this combined criteria should have priority over non-residents when Team Managers select their squads. It was suggested and agreed that the new Committee should redraft the proposal to better reflect members views.



10. Three members were nominated. Alistair Skene, Tony Mourad and Haydn pitchforth. Haydn Pitchforth had already indicated by letter that if nominated he would refuse to accept the honour. A vote was taken and Alistair Skene was voted Personality of the Year. Clare Straiton offered to engrave and take the trophy to Scotland as she was visiting Orkney as part of her development work in the Summer. This was agreed.



11. Two teams were nominated - West Wickham and Edinburgh. Arguments were put forward in favour of both teams. A vote was taken and Edinburgh were voted "Most Improved Team".



12. There were three items. They were a resolution on the Pucks issue and a resolution about Octopush News both from Slough; and BUSA (British Underwater Sports Association).



13. The Slough representative introduced his resolution (attached) by explaining that in his view that had been a serious problem over the management and presentation of this issue. The intent of his resolution was to allow both the Southport puck and the Australian puck to be used for BOA National Competitions to the benefit of all clubs.

In reply the National Competitions Manager pointed out that there was no BOA rule on which puck could be used in National Competitions – that decision lied solely with the Competitions Manager - and he had chosen the Australian Puck. In his view it was the best puck for the Crystal Palace pool bottom. The Committee had proposed to sell the Australian pucks as a money making enterprise (which had worked) only. He could accept a working party (as proposed in the resolution) to find the best puck to use but he wished to make it very clear that there had never been a decision on an official BOA puck to use. The Chairman also indicated he could accept the resolution but only if references to an "official BOA puck" were removed. Slough agreed to do this and Tim Arnold of Slough accepted the request of the Chairman to chair a working party which would submit a report to the Committee by 31 October 1998 on the suitability of the various pucks currently available. The resolution (as amended) was carried.


Octopush news

14. The second resolution from Slough about non publication of a letter they had written to Octopush news was withdrawn after Cliff Underwood noted that the letter had in fact been published but that parts of it that were considered offensive had been removed. This was done as he had a Committee instruction to remove offensive references in letters for publication in Octopush news.



15. The Chairman explained the background to the BOA joining BUSA. BSAC (our CMAS Representative) had been thrown out of CMAS and there was a real danger of the UK Teams not being allowed to participate in the World Championships this year. It was not possible for the BOA to join the CMAS Sports Committee directly as only one organisation can represent a member country and they British Spearfishing Association had the same problem with World Championships as us and also needed to join CMAS. Because of the pressing need for entry to the World championships, the Chairman and Secretary agreed to a meeting with the British Spearfishing Association and at that meeting BUSA was born. Both organisations have agreed to pay 500 in start-up and first year running costs. The fees alone for BUSA to join CMAS amount to 360 per year. It is hoped that as other underwater sports join the fee can be substantially reduced. BUSA would in the future represent the BOA internationally at all levels. BUSA now has membership to the CMAS Sports Committee. The Chairman of BUSA (Ron Jacobs - ex BSAC representative for Spearfishing to CMAS) would be paid expenses only. However, it had previously been agreed that the BOA would only pay out 20% of its funds per year for international purposes and we needed a decision on whether the BUSA fees should come from the 20% international allocation or out of general revenue. This was an important issue as it affected the amount the BOA could contribute towards expenses in an European/World Championship year. It was agreed to take the BUSA fee from the 20% of BOA revenue set aside for international funding first and then if necessary provide the rest of the BUSA fee from general revenue.

16. The meeting was formally closed just before 5PM.


Grant Mosedale

BOA Secretary





Leeds Beavers



Yorkshire Ladies

Leeds Free divers



West Wickham

London Ladies





Bradford Tykes






Portsmouth University

Batley Juniors



Spectrum Angels

Farnham & Guildford


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