National Competition Review

Fiona Dennis, Chairman of the National Competition Committee, said today, “I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to contribute to the recent consultation on rowing’s competition review.  Guin Batten and I are also very grateful to Council for the chance to present our initial proposals to them this weekend”. 

At the Council meeting held on Saturday 23rd November both Fiona and Guin gave a brief background on the breadth of their involvement with rowing and the rationale for the consultation which has clearly indicated two key areas for review;

  • the current structure of competition
  • the points system.

Council acknowledged that the sport has been attempting to improve competition for rowers for some years, but that attempts to date have simply been ‘tinkering at the edges’ of the problem.

Rowers are saying quite clearly that they want more opportunities to compete and greater flexibility, with almost everyone consulted saying that the current structure would benefit from change and deregulation. 

Guin Batten explained that presenting the initial findings from the consultation to Council was the beginning of the search for a solution and added that she had been extremely impressed by the quality of the feedback from the sport. 

“We don’t yet have all the answers but we are aiming for a progressive, flexible and sustainable competition structure.  It should recognise achievement and provide the opportunity to row in high quality events.  We must continue to identify the fastest and the best, but also those who simply want to be the best they can be.  We must keep our existing rowers and find ways to continue to engage them and attract new rowers.”

Guin said British Rowing’s Online Entry (BROE) system might be able to provide a competitor profile to replace a points-based system.  That would be explored but she emphasised that input from the events themselves was key to the next stage of the process. 

Between November and February a series of workshops would take place with event organisers.  There were some critical considerations to be addressed in arriving at a new framework; financial implications, rules and guidance, the capacity of BROE.

“We have said that we must listen to our rowers.  We have begun to consult much more widely and our members are responding.  This is very positive – things might still need refining but we have asked for feedback and we must listen to it.”  Council representative.

At the end of the presentation Council was asked to give its mandate to the three proposals outlined below; 

  • Throughout 2014 to work towards a categories based approach for the 2014/15 season to include three tiers of events, Novice/Beginner, Intermediate and Championship (names to be confirmed).

Council approved (0 against – 1 abstention recorded)

  • With effect from 1 July 2014 to cease the addition of points for event wins.

The proposal to give events the option to opt in or opt out of using the current classification system from 1st July in order to allow for a period of experimentation was the subject of some lively debate.  

(Decision deferred – to come back to February Council following consultation with events)

  • Simplification of the rules for less formal, smaller and more local events.

Council approved (0 against)

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