BTA AGM Resolutions 2005: Elephants and Dinosaurs never forget

03/11/05:I'm happy to note(as opposed to I've been asked, told or required) to state that Peter Coulson, the then Chair of the BTA did in fact contact me after the 2004 ITU Congress and did not ignore me as I perhaps implied in the attached. Prior to the 2004 congress had been on important personal business and unable to receive my communications while he was travelling. Peter also reminds me that they had intended to vote against the motion IF it was presented for a vote, but concensus was it would be withdrawn anyway, which it was.

My point, perhaps not as clearly written as it should have been in the attached, that we didn't get consulted before the potential vote in 2004 and isn't that what we vote the chair in for anyway?

31/10/05: Apologies for any offence caused by the first Grumpy old men cover mock-up, personally I'd have thought that being linked to the likes of Jeremy Clarkson, (Sir) Bob Geldof, Tony Hawks, (the late)John Peel, John Sessions, Matthew Parris, Rory McGrath, not forgetting Rick Wakeman of Yes and Richard Madely of the Richard and Judy show was a back handed compliment. Apparently not. Well to show no hard feelings I've replaced it with my picture, yes that’s me on the right!

Grumpy old menI've just reread the first two resolutions for this years BTA Annual General Meeting,they are pure BS. This is nothing more than a cynical attempt to whip up problems between the BTA and the ITU. IMHO.

The resolutions may indeed express a genuinely felt sentiment, I don't know Tracey Horne so it’s hard to know if this is genuine, if not misguided concern. Or if she is just a puppet of Peter Coulson who'd like to drive a wedge between the BTA and ITU for numerous reasons. Not least becuase he effectively was defeated for the Chair of the BTA last year becuase he put so much time and effort into backing a poorly judged, executed, and failed effort to unseat "el presidente" of the ITU, Les McDonald.

First, Peter should know that the ITU Congress vote was a hollow gesture. The motion was carried on a unanimous vote, and so an abstention or vote against, by the BTA wouldn’t have made the slightest bit of difference.

As we all know the WTC had already split from the ITU and their Rules and technical committee by forming the Global Triathlon Group (GTG) to sanction WTC IRONMAN™ races. Irrespective of how the BTA voted at the ITU congress, the WTC/GTG were not going to come running to the BTA next year anyway.

Henry has it spot on on his Triathletes-uk web site when he says there is nothing to stop exactly the same referees and technical people working for and with the GTG and BTA. At that point, any attempt by the GTG and/or the ITU to stop these people working with the other organisation would be indeed a restraint of trade.

However, from an athletes perspective there is absolutely no restraint of trade proposed. There is nothing proposed or suggested that says you can't race in either ITU or GTG sanctioned races. PETER COULSON, who seconded these motions ought to know this!

Unless of course HE was ASLEEP on his watch as CHAIR of the BTA. I bought up the whole issue of restraint of trade with Norman Brook back in 2001/2002 time frame and pointed out that the then BTA Rules would not stand an EU legal challenge and the offending rule was duly removed. The prior rule was another misguided attempt to supress non-BTA sanctioned races by stopping BTA members participating in Pete Metallis’ Banana Leisure races in the late '90s, which were not sanctioned by the BTA. Any member racing risked expulsion as a member. Bzzt... Restraint of trade for any athlete who was pro or could win money from Petes races.

Now, since nothing like this is proposed in either the current ITU/BTA or WTC/GTG rules and regs, Peter is either being forgetful, dishonest, or just incompetent...

The basis for the BTA resolutions are also fundamentally flawed. That is unless greater than Olympic triathlon distance is always EQUAL to IRONMAN. Which again, we know it is not. IRONMAN is a branded version of Long Distance triathlon. The World Triathlon Corporation have very carefully nurtured and developed their races to deliver a high quality events both competitors and spectators, their World Championship, Ironman Hawaii is legend. However, there are an increasing number of other, non-WTC, non-Ironman branded long distance races both in the USA, Europe and at home in the UK, such as the Longest Day, the Vitruvian, Bala and Weymouth.

The purpose of the ITU hollow gesture was to get the ITU Affiliated nations out of the support structure for WTC/IRONMAN races. The ITU has no reason or desire to drop everything over and above Olympic or standard distance racing. Resolution 2. is simply a divisive way to force the BTA into conflict with the ITU, and at the cost of races in the UK and age groupers who want to participate in those races by making it much more difficult for them to be sanctioned.

Resolution-1 also says "So it is regretted that the BTA, without consultation with the membership, has voted at the ITU Congress". - This is just a joke. I specifically wrote to Peter last year by email and for backup, faxed a copy(see "Is drafting in our future link below") asking how the BTA would vote on the resolution scheduled for the 2004 ITU Congress to make all age group world champs, draft legal. I didn't hear a word, no response, not even a "go away silly little boy". So not only didn't he consult the membership when he was chair, but he was even prepared to keep it secret until the vote! Pot calling the kettle black?

PERHAPS WHOEVER IT WAS THAT SO HELPFULLY ALERTED PETER TO THE FACT I MENTIONED HIS NAME IN ANOTHER THREAD WHICH LEAD TO HIS ONLY CONTRIBUTION ON TRITALK COULD ALERT HIM TO THIS ONE AS WELL.

I'd be more than happy to take all this back if Peter or anyone else for that matter could provide a rational, factual explanation that shows why these resolutions should be supported at the AGM and will help to continue, or even increase choice in long distance triathlon in the UK.

Otherwise I look forward to EB member Jem Lawson doing one of his forensic examinations and dismissals of these resolutions, as only as former teacher can... They are at best misguided and at worse damaging and harmful to races longer than Olympic/Standard distance in the UK. They may also harm relationships between the BTA and ITU to such an extent we can likely wave goodbye to any hope of hosting an Age Group world champs anytime soon and at worst they put the future of races such as the Longest Day, Bala and the Vitruvian in doubt.

When considering how to vote on this issue, remember six things:

  1. You MUST be present at the AGM on the 20th of November

  2. The ITU Resolution voted on by the BTA was purely about WTC IRONMAN races, NOT long distance racing.

  3. The BTA and ITU will still be organising and sanctioning races longer than Olympic/Standard distance.

  4. The WTC will continue to hold Ironman races in the UK, irrespective fo the BTA vote at the ITU Congress, and the success or failure of these resolutions at the BTA AGM.

  5. If these resolutions pass it will likely force all UK races longer than Olympic/Standard distance into a gray area which will either put them into direct competition or partnership with the WTC/IRONMAN. Ultimately it will either force them out of existence or will force a substantial rise in entry fees.

  6. The split between the WTC and the ITU is a bad thing and doesn't help the sport of triathlon(see slowtwitch link below). These resolutions do nothing to help resolve that rift and are little more than a cynical attempt to open a chasm between the BTA and the ITU, they must be defeated at the BTA AGM.



A selection of related links:
Tri Sports News: Congress Votes to No Longer Sanction Ironman
Duathlon.com: Rift Between Ironman and USAT/ITU Grows
Slowtwitch.com: It's a leadership opportunity


Triman blog links:
In the interests of fairness
Moving the goal posts...
First shots across the bow in ITU campaign
Is drafting in our future ? ITU AGM Dance Partners
Triathlon row may affect bid
Credit where credit is due...
Who has got the X-factor ?
Three strikes and you are out
Status Quo – Dog of two head
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  • Current Music: Jazz in the House Vol. 11
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(Anonymous)
Dear Mark,

Not being a person who is permanently behind a comuter screen I have just now found your site.

I have read your articles and would be pleased to give you some comments on the resolutions for you. I can also give you my views on other comments you have made so that accuracy of reporting is guaranteed.

As far as the 'grumpy old man ' jibe - old at 60, maybe - grumpy, no but very concerned at the conflict on interest which is in danger of gaining a hold on British Traithlon's Executive Board.

Kind regards

Peter Coulson
Thanks for getting touch Peter. I had assumed that it would be better if you were prepared to debate these issues in public you would post to the Tritalk forum, since you'd already posted there.

The technology used there is much more suitable for discussion than blogs which don't really show levels of activity, contributors, and are subject to editing and approval before being made public. None of this exists on Tritalk, you can type what you like and post it directly with no 3rd party intervention.

I will update or post corrections or apologies here if I've misunderstood, got things wrong, etc.

There is a thread on Tritalk about the resolutions
http://www.tritalk.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9843

perhaps you'd post comments there on the resolutions. And then others can see them and ask questions as well.

If you want to discuss the elections and conflict of interest as you see it, then I've just created a thread there.
http://www.tritalk.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9976

If on the other hand you want your comments to appear directly here then thats fine. I'll post them unedited.
Ironman Resolution
(Anonymous)
Following my earlier comment, Tracey Horne and Peter Coulson, have prepared a response to your remarks which we hope will clarify some of the points you have raised.

This will also be posted on the Tri Talk Web-site

TH and PC