Report to the EGF Annual General Meeting 2003.
Tony Atkins, Henric Bergsåker, Christian Gawron, Zoltan Kelemen, Zoran Mutabzija,
Jan van Rongen .
The constitution of the EGF was last
amended at the AGM in Strausberg 2000. Since then a number of of ideas and suggestions for further revisions, or even a
complete rewriting of the constitution have appeared. In a report to the AGM in
Zagreb 2002 and in the references therein, the suggestions up to that point in
time were listed . On December 19th 2002 the EGF Executive Committee appointed the following Constitution
Commission to assist the Executive and the EGF members in the work on the constitution:
Tony Atkins (UK), Henric Bergsåker (Sweden,
moderator), Christian Gawron (Germany),
Zoltan Kelemen (Hungary),
Zoran Mutabzija (Croatia) and Jan van Rongen (Netherlands). The following instruction was issued:
"To assist the Executive (in the first place) and the EGF members by working
out concrete proposals for modifications of the constitution, based on ideas
and suggestions from the Executive, from
the EGF members or on needs which the commission itself can identify . This
means writing the actual texts in a clear and unambiguous way which fits into
the framework of the constitution. As far as possible the proposals should also
be accompanied with clear motivations and an objective discussion of their
implications, in order to make it easier for the EGF members to judge if they
would like to support them or not.
To investigate and analyse long term strategies for how the constitution can be
modernised and kept up to date with the needs of the EGF, including the
possible needs for major
revisions or complete rewriting of the constitution.
To report on the activities regularly to the Executive and to
the EGF members."
for spring 2003:
"Prepare proposals based on some of the suggestions which were listed in
the report to the AGM in Zagreb in time for the
deadline for constitutional proposals 25/1, so that they can be
considered by the AGM (next year) in St Petersburg. The commission
prepares the proposals in a way which is suitable for the AGM, it is then up to
the Executive or any EGF member which proposals they would like to put on the
agenda. Since time is very short now it is obvious that not very many complete
proposals can be expected for January, the commission is advised to concentrate
on the most urgent and the most easy to implement.
Continue in spring to prepare proposals that may be discussed at the AGM in
2003 but decided 2004 or later. Collect and document possible new ideas and
suggestions. It may be useful for the commission to ask the EGF members for
their preliminary opinion on the proposals and ideas. Since the constitution
can be modified only in large consensus, it saves
work if proposals which are clearly unacceptable to many EGF members are
discarded, at least for the time being. Report to the AGM."
In this report, the different suggestions which have appeared so far
are once again listed in section 2. A few worked out proposals based on these
suggestions are presented in section 3.
Some of the suggestions are discussed without definitive proposals in
section 4. Our conclusions and recommendations for how to proceed are
summarised in section 5.
2. Suggestions for
The following are the ideas which have been considered so far.
Suggestions S01-S16 are the ones which have appeared
up to 2002 and were listed in the report of last year . The points S17-S18
have been brought up within the commission since then. Point S19 has been
raised by Marc Gonzales and point S20 has been brought up by the Irish member.
S01) 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 [2,3].
S02) 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
S03) Change the requirements on nominations of candidates for the
executive, in particular not to require nomination of people already in office
for reelection [5,6,7].
S04) Increase the length of term for the Executive Committee [8,9].
S05) Include an explicit statement in the constitution to say that the
EGF members should be democratic , following the statement by the AGM in
S06) Add procedures to handle the situation if the executive resigns [3,7].
S07) Introduce election for non-Executive posts .
S08) Change the voting rules at the AGM to give the big associations
more weight, more in agreement with the number of members .
S09) 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 .
S10) Scrap the appeals commission .
S11) Make the auditors responsible for commenting on the performance of
the finance committee .
S12) 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
S13) 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 .
S14) 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 .
S15) 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 [12,13].
S16) Adopt the constitution of another organisation, such as FIDE, with
appropriate modifications [4,9,14].
S17) Change the election procedures at the AGM so that the situation
when two or more candidates for an office get the same number of votes can be
S18) Clarify the role of the EGF commissions and the formalities around
S19) Modify the election of the Executive Committee in such a way as to
encourage or enforce the election of a team which is prepared to collaborate
and work together .
S20) Modify article 6.3 to allow proxy votes at the AGM .
There is more than one version of the
existing constitution. To be specific, we are assuming that the version which
was taken down by Tony Atkins  is the one which best corresponds to what
was agreed upon in Strausberg. Now and then minor
differences have been discovered between this version and the one which is
published on the EGF website.
The following concrete proposals have
been worked out, based on the suggestions.
Proposed change P02 in the constitution.
Article 8.3 in the constitution now
"The Secretary deals with all written
business for the EGF. Where appropriate, he will receive and retain copies of
the President's and Treasurer's correspondence which he will file together with
copies of his own letters in the archives. Access to internal correspondence of
the Committee may, at the discretion of the Committee, be restricted. It is his
responsibility, in consultation with the organisers of the Congress, to fix a
date for the Annual General Meeting. He shall circulate the agenda for the
General Meeting including times and dates and details of all proposals not less
than six weeks before the beginning of the meeting. He must write up the
minutes of the General Meeting and circulate them to all member nations within
a reasonable period of time."
We propose to change this into:
"8.3 The Secretary
deals with all written business for the EGF, whether in electronic form or on
paper. He will receive and retain copies of the
President's and Treasurer's correspondence, which he will file together with
copies of his own letters in the archives. When requested by any member
organisation, the Secretary should without unnecessary time delay provide
access to the correspondence of the EGF Officers and other official documents.
Access to internal correspondence within the Committee may, at the discretion
of the Committee, be restricted. It is the responsibility of the Secretary, in
consultation with the organisers of the Congress, to fix a date for the Annual
General Meeting. He shall circulate the agenda for the General Meeting
including times and dates and details of all proposals not less than six weeks
before the beginning of the meeting. He must write up the minutes of the
General Meeting and circulate them to all member nations within a reasonable
period of time."
The EGF members may need to know what the
Executive is doing in order to be able to evaluate its performance. There isn't
anything in the activities of the EGF that should require secrecy. The AGM's in
Strausberg and Dublin made
statements in favour of transparency. Any distinction between electronic mail
and hardcopies is irrelevant and obsolete. The old article 8.3 can be
interpreted to imply this kind of transparency, including electronic mail, but
is not entirely unambiguous. The proposed new text is a clarification.
Proposed change P03 in the constitution.
Article 6.7 of the EGF constitution now
"The election of officers shall be by
secret ballot if there is more than one nomination for any officer. One ballot
per election will be given to each national delegation, stamped with the EGF
seal. If there are more than two nominations for an officer's post and no
single delegate receives an absolute majority on the first round, the nominee
who received the fewest votes will drop out and the vote will be taken with the
remaining nominees. The same procedure is then repeated. Nominations for office
must be circulated by the Secretary together with the Agenda. Nominees must be proposed by at
least one member Federation in good standing, seconded by two more member
Federations and must confirm to the Executive their willingness to occupy the
post for which they are proposed."
We propose to change this into:
"Except in the case of re-election of a
person already in office, candidates for election as officers of the EGF must
be proposed by at least one member Federation in good standing, seconded by two
more member Federations and must confirm to the Committee their willingness to
occupy the post for which they are proposed. The nominations have to be
communicated to the Secretary at least two months before the AGM and the list
of candidates for office must be circulated by the Secretary together with the
Agenda. The election of officers shall be by secret ballot if there is more
than one candidate for any office. If there are more than two candidates for an
officer's post and no single candidate receives an absolute majority in the
first round, the candidate who received the fewest votes will drop out and the
vote will be taken with the remaining candidates. The same procedure is then
repeated if necessary. "
The purpose of the requirement of nomination and seconding
by two additional members, which was introduced in the constitution amendment
in 2000, is to avoid that the election is complicated by a large number of
candidates who are not likely to be elected since they don't have sufficient
support. But the persons already in office have already had sufficient support,
so extra nominations are clearly unnecessary.
Proposed change P05 in the constitution.
In article 3 we suggest to add directly
following: "There can only by one member organisation from any one country." the
sentence: "The EGF members are expected to be democratically managed and
representative of the organised goplayers in the
The matter of democracy has been up for
discussion in connection with the the so called C++
decision at the AGM in Podbanske in 1999. The AGM in Strausberg in 2000 voted in favour of a statement to the
effect that the EGF members should be democratic. Since democracy is the
generally accepted norm in the European countries there shouldn't be any serious
drawbacks in making such a requirement for the EGF members.
Proposed change P09 in the constitution.
Article 6.8 now reads:
"Only member nations with delegates
present at the meeting may vote, although written "position papers"
may be accepted. Only member
organisations which are fully paid up may vote, although observers,
organisations not fully paid up and individuals (the latter at the discretion
of the President) may offer their comments."
We propose to change this into:
"Only member nations with delegates
present at the meeting may vote, although written statements submitted by
absent members may be accepted. Only
member organisations which are fully paid up may vote, although observers and
organisations not fully paid up may offer their comments. The President or the
meeting may also invite individuals to comment."
It is hard to see any valid reason why
the constitution should not allow the meeting to invite anybody to make a
comment if it so wishes.
Proposed change P17 in the constitution.
Article 6.7 now reads:
"If there are more than two nominations for an officer's post and no
single delegate receives an absolute majority on the first round, the nominee
who received the fewest votes will drop out and the vote will be taken with the
remaining nominees. The same procedure is then repeated."
In the modified version proposed as P03, the corresponding section reads:
"If there are more than two candidates for an officer's post and no single
candidate receives an absolute majority in the first round, the candidate who
received the fewest votes will drop out and the vote will be taken with the
remaining candidates. The same procedure is then repeated if necessary. "
We suggest to add immediately following this the sentence:
"If it results that two or more candidates in the end get an equal number of
votes, the officer is selected by
drawing of lots."
Deciding by draw is obviously the
simplest and most generally applicable way to avoid a possible stalemate
situation in the elections.
3.6 Language improvements.
The language of the present text can be
improved. The terminology is not always consistent. As an example the members
of the EGF are sometimes called "member organisations", sometimes
just "members", often "member nations" and at least once
"Federations in good standing". We suggest to remove "member nations"
altogether and replace it with "members" or with "member organisations" in
places where one could possibly mistakenly read "members" as individual
members. We propose to replace "Federations in good standing" with "members in
good standing". At present words like
"secretary", "President", "Go",
"Observer", "observer", "treasurer",
"Treasurer", "officers", "Officers" etc appear
sometimes with initial capital, sometimes not. We suggest to
use initial capital in President, Secretary, Treasurer, Executive
Committee, Observer and so on everywhere, since they can be viewed as words
with a special meaning, which are defined in the constitution. We suggest "go"
and "officers" without initial capital. We suggest to make
the text consistently gender neutral. In the present text the EGF officers are
sometimes referred to as "he", "him" etc, sometimes as "he/she" etc. We suggest
being consistent and write "he/she" or "he or she" everywhere.
We are not yet able to make concrete
proposals based on the remaining suggestions but offer the following comments
on some of the points in order to encourage discussion.
Comment D08, on giving the big members more voting power.
The objective of this proposal is to keep
the EGF representative of the European goplayers. The
fact that the big associations (like Germany,
which has almost a third of the goplayers in
Europe in terms of members or active
players on the EGF rating list) have the same voting power as the smallest
associations with only a few members leaves the players in the big associations
with disproportionately small influence in the EGF. The original suggestion S08
calls for graded voting power depending on the number of individual members in
the national go associations.
However there are considerable practical
problems involved in actually determining the size of the EGF members in a
fair, simple and reliable way. The voting power is of course fundamental in the
EGF and has to be based on something robust. It has been objected to the use of
the number of individual members that the membership policies in the EGF
members vary a lot. Some EGF members hand out individual membership for free to
people they have had only very casual contact with, whereas others have more or
less high individual membership fees. Some EGF members require individual
membership for participation in their own tournaments and other activities,
whereas others do not. Membership in some of the EGF members includes free
copies of good national go journals, which can be expected to increase the
number of individual members, whereas it does not in others. It has also been
objected that it would be unethical if voting power can be bought for money by
paying larger membership fees to the EGF and that intricate verification
problems may occur.
The same problem was extensively
discussed in fall 2002 in the committee working on the selection of pairs for
the world pairgo championship. The solution which was
finally chosen there was to use a size measure consisting in the minimum of the
two numbers: number of members paid for and two times the number of active
players on the EGF rating list with European rating above 1000. Possibly this
is a fair and practical measure to use, but it is a bit doubtful if it is
sufficiently robust and transparent to use in the EGF constitution. At any rate
it would be necessary to stipulate in the EGF constitution that a rating list
has to be maintained and to specify in some way how it should work, which would
be a rather complicated matter. It would be easier to just specify that there
should be a rating list including tournament active players and use the whole
list, but the objection has been made that the lists at the lower kyu levels
may be easy to manipulate.
Comment D09, on keeping the AGM secret.
Apart from the matter of inviting
individuals to speak at the AGM, suggestion S09 also calls for an explicit
removal of the possibility to keep anything secret at the AGM, which is
mentioned in article 6.11 of the present constitution. It is not easy to
formulate an alternative to 6.11 which stipulates that the AGM must be public, it might for instance be impractical to guarantee
physical access to the general public. On the other hand we don't see any need
for secrecy. It would be an easy solution just to remove article 6.11, since it
does not really say much, but as it stands it does in fact describe the actual
practice (that the meetings are public).
Comment D18 (and D07), on the EGF commissions.
There are a few aspects around the EGF
commissions which are unclear. For instance, should the commissions be
appointed by the Executive or be elected by the AGM? Should the instructions
for the commissions be defined by the Executive, by the AGM or perhaps by the
commissions themselves? How should the chairmen of the commissions be
appointed? Should the internal documents and correspondence
of the commissions be accessible to the EGF members or not? Should the
commissions be just consultative or formally make decisions of their own?
Article 9 in the present constitution
"The General Meeting or the Committee can install Commissions. Commissions installed by the Committee have
to be announced to the Member Associations by the Secretary within 30 days, and
they have to be confirmed at the next AGM.
9.1. A commission may have any number of members. One of the members must be appointed Chairman
by the Commission. This Chairman will
report to the AGM on the activities of the Commission during the preceding
9.2. Activities, finance, and limitations for
a Commission must be defined by the Committee or the AGM. Any decisions by the Committee concerning a
Commission must be presented at the next AGM for approval."
However, this description is not very clear and the actual practice
does not follow these rules. Firstly, it is unclear what is meant by
"installing" a commission, whether it includes appointing the members or not.
For instance, it clearly says in article 10 of the constitution that the
Appeals Commission should be "installed" by the AGM, but when the first Appeals
Commission was installed in fall 2000 the members were appointed by the
Executive and the AGM was never asked to confirm its composition. The members
of the EGF commission for Italy in 2000-2001
were also appointed by the Executive. Secondly it has apparently never happened
that a chairman of a commission has been elected by the commission itself as
article 9.1 seems to stipulate, the chairmen have always been appointed by the
Executive [18-20], although the name of the chairman has sometimes been
mentioned at the AGM. Thirdly, the decisions e.g. by the Rules and Ratings
commission have not been submitted to the AGM for approval.
In 1999-2000 the EGF Executive asked a Dutch notary who is specialised
in international sports organisations, Adriaan Helmig, for advice on the constitution . On the
commissions/committees he said:
"Executive committee can only install small working committees,
per special project only. These committees report to the executive
committee" (…) "All the others
commissions/committees (except rules and ranking) will be installed by the GA,
to prevent conflicts of interest."
Or in other words, he recommended all commissions except the rules
& rating to be appointed by the AGM. No motivation was given why the Rules
and Ratings commission should not as well be appointed by the AGM.
Helmig also recommended that: "all commissions/committees are
consultative committees (no executive authority) except executive committee and
the disciplinary and appeal committee."
It can be argued that it is best if the commissions are elected by the
AGM, since they then gain more legitimacy and authority, and besides the AGM is
always the highest authority of the AGM anyway, and can of course chose to
appoint commissions if it wants to. Drawbacks may be that election of a large
number of commissioners may be a tedious procedure and that something may be
lost in efficiency and/or continuity in the work of the commissions.
Additionally this is not how the EGF has chosen to work in practice up to now.
We think that the Appeals Commission should certainly be elected by the
AGM, since by the constitution it does have executive power and it should be
possible to appeal to the commission even against decisions by the Executive
Committee. For the commissions which don't have any executive power it would
seem less essential that they are elected and it may be more practical if they
are appointed by the Executive (conforming with the actual practice), but we
feel that more discussion of this point is necessary. There is also the matter
of the length of term of elected commissions, how nominations should take place
and how resigning commissioners should be replaced.
Tony Atkins' suggestion S15 includes
effectively abolishing the commissions as they look today and making an
individual member of the board responsible for an area, so that he can organise
a commission or whatever as he thinks fit. One step in that direction was
introduced during Zoran Mutabzijas period as EGF
president, since he appointed a "co-ordinator" for each commission, who could
or could not be a member himself of the commission but who was a member of the
Comment D20, on proxy votes at the AGM.
Article 6.3 of the
constitution rules out proxy votes at the AGM.
In the most recent general meetings however, this article appears to have been
circumvented, by Armenia/Russia at the AGM in Dublin, by Switzerland at the AGM in Zagreb and probably by a number of members at the coming AGM in St Petersburg. We
would like to encourage a discussion of whether not allowing delegation of
voting powers serves any constructive purpose, if it is desirable and if it can
be enforced. To bring the constitution more in agreement with the emerging
practice we suggest to remove at least the requirement that the delegate must
be a member of the association he or she is representing ( it
is difficult to verify such membership anyway and nothing can be done about ad
hoc memberships) and possibly to allow that one person represents more than one
member organisation too.
We have discussed and worked out concrete
proposals based on some of the suggestions that have been made. We propose to
continue this work during the coming fall, so that a fair number of proposed
changes can be brought to a decision at the AGM next year. We intend to keep
the EGF members informed of the progress and expect that members who take an
interest in the constitution will offer their comments to the suggestions and
proposals. We also recommend that the record of suggestions and proposals be
updated continuously and distributed regularly. We suggest that all correspondence
between the commission and external parties should be shown to EGF members if
(Items indicated with (A) are attached to
this communication. Items indicated (D) have been distributed to the EGF
members on earlier occasions. Copies of any of the documents can be provided)
 Henric Bergsåker, Report to the EGF Annual General Meeting 2002:
for a new or revised constitution (D).
 The Swiss member's proposal from spring 2000. (D)
 Suggestions and comments June-July 2002 by Alan Held. (D)
 Motions from the Italian member for the AGM 2002. (D)
 Suggestions June 2002 by the Swedish member. (D)
 Suggestions June 2002 by Matti Siivola. (D)
 Tony Atkins, suggestions July 2002. (D)
 Starting points for a new constitution, annex 10 to president's newyear letter 2000. (D)
 Zoran Mutabzijas proposal from spring
2001 to take the constitution of the international
federation FIDE, with some words
 Suggestions by Martin Stiassny, president of the German member.
 Suggestions by the German member, July 2002. (D)
 Tony Atkins' suggestion in the May letter 2002
and elsewhere. (D)
 Comments from the Polish member June 2002 on Atkins' suggestions.
 Motion from the Italian member to the AGM 2001 to work on adapting
the FIDE constitution. (D)
 Marc Gonzales, private communication 21/5 2003.
 Suggestion by the Irish member, July 2003.
 The EGF constitution, Atkins' version of the text (A).
 Peter Zandveld, private communication.
 Alan Held, private communication.
 Matti Siivola, private communication.