Honestly, I'm groaning to myself.
Anyhow, the BRSF have apparently disappeared. Attempts to call them are re-directed, and their online presence is less than that of Alta-Vista. What does this mean for UKRDA?
Well, BRSF recognised UKRDA on behalf of those they represent, just as UKRDA recognise leagues on behalf of BRSF. If the chain is followed, it leads to the British Olympic Ass'n and UK Sport, Sport England, and Sport Scotland. (If I recall correctly, UKRDA are not yet recognised by Sport Wales)
Thus, UKRDA are recognised by the rest of the chain, as well. It's not unreasonable to presume that they've cultivated a relationship with Sport England, and that relationship ought to continue.
As well, UK Sport will ensure that there is a roller sports governing body, as I'm sure they don't want to be left out. It wouldn't hurt for UKRDA to approach UK Sport directly, and cut out the middleman at this point. There's no reason that derby has to come under the general roller sports umbrella.
Besides recognition, for what it's worth, no other benefit of UKRDA membership ought to be affected. After all, the UKRDA seem to be well funded from membership dues and not requiring of outside funding.
Speaking of the UKRDA in general, an important moment was reached last week. To paraphrase, the UKRDA said that they could not form the best possible Team England (etc.) from within member leagues alone, and thus are willing to assist as impartial assistants with the formation process. However, such a team would not be UKRDA-sancioned officially.
This is an important step in the internal politics of international roller derby. This, in simpler terms, is the statement "just skate, we'll help you hash out the details when you need them."
This is a national association doing what, in my opinion, it ought to do--support first--and the UKRDA deserve to be commended for their action.
That said, I hope in the future that the UKRDA are able to fully implement a national team programme. Of course, due to my own personal beliefs, I think this should be on the basis of England, Scotland, Wales, and N. Ireland, only joining forces when specific events require Britain's Derby Megazord.
In order to do so they need a mandate from the eligible skaters, and their recent post reflects an understanding of this point. A full mandate, though, requires lowering the barriers to entry.
Right now, the barriers to entry are a bit high. Some leagues will struggle to raise the £100. For other leagues, the issue will be the two recommendations, which sometimes fall victim to petty derby drama between leagues. These barriers seem to me like the rules may have been set before their purpose was fully decided, rather than the other way around.
I would like to call on the UKRDA to first investigate their mission. If, indeed, it is to represent British Derby to the government and the world, then the barriers should be low enough that all active leagues can easily join.
- Sliding-scale entry fee? Leagues that bout pay more than leagues just starting, perhaps.
- Vetos rather than recommendations? Leagues wishing to enter may do so unless a certain number of member leagues deny said membership. Leagues using their veto must present a valid reason why to the membership board, who can override the veto in case of mis-use.
- Small membership fee combined with a fee per sanctioned bout? This raises funds very quickly, and is much more easily affordable to newer leagues.
The UKRDA are currently caught in a spot of turmoil, but this is actually an opportunity. It's an opportunity for them to represent themselves to the entire UK sporting community as the spokes-organisation for and supporter of all of UK roller derby, a position they have already adopted with regard to the men's national teams.
I fervently believe that this is the chance the UKRDA have been waiting for, the chance to step up and make derby better, easier, and more inclusive for the whole of the UK.
Their press release stated that their support of independent team development was the most fair option for the upcoming Men's World Cup. I trust by the time the next international tournament of any kind rolls around, their system will be the most fair and most competitive for all eligible skaters.