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PROTRACK » GENERAL » VAL Handicap Position

VAL Handicap Position

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1 VAL Handicap Position on Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:30 am


ProTrack A Grader
ProTrack A Grader
In order to cease any further speculation and inform those that really matter (the athletes) I wish to confirm that under the current VAL Board arrangements, I will not be standing for the position as Chief Handicapper nor any other Official position.

I admit to being very disappointed that I won’t be continuing with the progress we have made such as the introduction of the Handicapping Panel along with the procedures, worksheets and structure introduced.

The reason behind my not standing again are the same as those that have been outlined previously by Cam, Brian and Paul, all of whom I have great respect for. I see Andrew, Cam, Paul and Emma P. as the future of the sport. They are all people of skill, integrity, passion and vision. Their collective loss from the Board (apart from Emma) is a massive blow.

My number one aim has always been to provide a competitive environment for as many athletes as possible and to maximize entries and opportunities for athletes. But I simply cannot and will not work with a Board I cannot trust. I would only reconsider if those in question were to step down. I would like to say that Emma, who remains on the Board is a wonderful advocate for the athletes and I encourage all who are concerned about what has happened, to contact her.

I also encourage as many clubs as possible to read Paul Connolly's letter and respond accordingly. If we get enough involved we may be able to turn this alarming situation around. If you are a club that originally voted with the block but am now reconsidering, contact us and see what can be done. It may not be too late.

I have very much enjoyed getting to know so many athletes and seeing so many progress and enjoy success. I would certainly like to thank all of you for your tremendous support and your positive interaction. It has definitely been a highlight of the position. In particular I'd like to thank the "few" who I had issues with along the way. To a person you have been respectful, understanding and I am most grateful. I leave the position having made a great number of acquaintances I value highly and very few I don't.

I’d like to thank all those that have helped along the way. In particular Brian Marantelli, Mark Howard, who is a great assset, panel members Graeme Watkins and Graeme Goldsworthy who were a fantastic support, John Holloway who has been the one constant throughout my 5 years and a tower of calmness and strength whenever I was losing the plot, Sue and Nila (who has been very patient with me)and Joy and Ian Cox. Thanks guys - its been good working with you.

I'd like to wish you all the best for the forthcoming season. I intend to remain involved in the sport and am looking at taking a "keep the bastards honest" type role with handicapping and stewarding. So if you have any issues I'll be happy to provide some advice or assist if I can.

I look forward to seeing you all.


Mark O'Brien

2 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:17 pm


There is a strong chance that the 2011/12 Victorian Athletic League season is in doubt. The now depleted VAL board are having an emergency meeting this week to discuss what they have done and how it can be fixed. It comes as no surprise to many that the elected board members only had one thought and that was to oust the then serving president . That was the end of their thinking. Not one of them thought that once their agenda had played out that there would be any repercussions that may result in the sport of professional running grinding to a halt in Victoria.

The once powerful VAL is just one board member away of not having enough members to pass a vote or make any decisions affecting the sport and insiders are now stating openly that many powerful clubs lead by the Stawell Athletic Club are looking to leave the organisation that has governed over them for more than a century.

The structure of professional running is that the Stawell Gift acts as a premiership of sorts, with athletes rewarded for competing reputedly throughout the season. With no carrot at Easter for many athletes they simply won’t bother running at the many smaller meeting dotted across Victoria, and subsequently many gift meetings will suffer as entry fees make up a bulk of the profits of these organisations.

The astonishing repercussion of the actions of a few is they have done this to themselves. All the clubs are entitled to a vote at the AGM with many elected this year being affiliated to such clubs. These same few have also roped in other clubs to vote as a single block, but the details and promises made to these clubs is currently unknown, but is sure to come out shortly.

So far the newly elected president of the VAL has not publicly spoken, the VAL twitter account, web site and facebook accounts have not been updated. To add salt to the self inflicted wounds the chief handicapper has also stood down from his post. With the season proper to begin in a little over two months it’s hard to see the season kicking off on time.

3 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:49 am

T Hanx

Sorry to see you go MOB. Thanx for all youve done. VAL Distance running is much stronger than it was when you started.

4 From another continent on Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:01 pm


I don't post on these boards, but this situation has me somewhat disappointed.

Whilst I can understand that certain individuals of groups may find it difficult to function effectively with other individuals or groups with which they have fundamental disagreements, I believe to resign 'en masse' is a somewhat ineffective resolution.

Are the issues which have prompted Brian, Mark, et al to resign irreconcileable? Perhaps, perhaps not. I do believe, however, that the efforts taken for reconciliation have been insufficient.

To be sure, I cannot state this without a more proper understanding of the surrounding facts, but I do feel that more avenues could have been explored, within the constitution and framework of the VAL, to solve these issues (which is, of course, the role of the board). Boards disagree, as do people. The proper manner of addressing disagreements is to seek to reach a resolution within the existing framework.

If that fails, then perhaps it would be advisable to use the processes implemented to change the board's composition for future years.

I hope it does not sound presumptuous, but with the greatest respect for Brian and Mark (whose contributions to the sport I value), to take their proverbial ball and go home will not resolve this impasse.

5 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:58 pm


Hey JA, Nice post. Post here more often, your post has merit but its hard to blame the guys for resigning. They were lied to. Cant work with people you cant trust.

6 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:31 am


ProTrack A Grader
ProTrack A Grader
Ethics are important.

Honesty and Integrity are important.

The VAL has just lost 5 good men who were honest and acted with professionalism displaying moral character.
I have no doubt that that the decision to resign must have been a hard one but one made on ethical grounds. I admire you guys for your stance and courage. It is just a very sad day for the future of professional athletics to lose good men.

I did not always agree with MOB or McManus but one thing was for sure they operated in an ethical way.

Paul Connolly has managed the finances of the VAL excellently.... taken the VAL from insolvency to having cash reserves of $80K. He has managed with the future in mind.

7 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:31 am


here here. Laughing

Well said Fast.

8 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:45 pm

fed up

What do the rank & file athletes do who don't give a shit about the politics? I'm not on the side of the moths or the guys who resigned. I'm frustrated and can't make sense of why people can't get along. Is there anyone willing to get working for the good of the sport and doesn't care for politics?

9 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:23 pm


Fed Up - it has nothing to do with politics. Do the rank and file athletes care about integrity and honesty? - YES. If you do, then you would support those who chose to resign. It has nothing to do with Politics. If the current handicapper who seems to have had strong but not total support of athletes chooses to resign doesn't that say something. Please read Yorke, Connolly and MOB's resignation letter and tell me what politics they are playing. Phone up the VAL CEO and ask him...for those who have got off their ass and contacted the relevant people to find out what happened - they know both versions of events and can make a judgment - I have done this and my judgment is that the 3 who resigned did so on behalf of the athletes and trainers for all the right reasons.

10 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:53 am


Any latest news on whats happening in the VAL? Any more board members resign, and any added??

11 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:52 pm


Have it on good authority that the VAL Board rejected the VRTA through rep Emma Poynton for a recommendation of Board being overhauled. Basically told her to STFU. Meecham, Trusler & O'Donnell ran the show on Tuesday. Meeting over in an our. Boyes was like a rabbit in the headlights, saying nothing and agreeing to everything moths put up. Cato said little too. TOD & Trusler now taken over handicapping role.

12 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:58 pm


Stawell wants a special meeting of all clubs. VAL has told them what for? Stawell is a big chance to leave the VAL if it dont get its way. watch this space.

13 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:05 pm

Da Bitch

Is TOD really the handicapper? Say it aint so SOL!!

14 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:21 pm


Read Albany Aths - one of the clubs must have leaked the emergency board meeting minutes which was sent to them. Looks like Mark Howard has made a move by sending them to the clubs as he must have known someone would leak them - good on him, I am surprised he hasn't quit already.

Board have asked all members to work on starting marks for season! So effectively all board members are now also handicappers - pretty sure Rick & Terry said at AGM that they would be board member only.

Can this disaster get any worse???

15 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:37 pm


Unfortunately (or....Fortunately?) I can't read Albany as I'm still banned from that forum. I've never bothered to request the ban to be lifted so I'm oblivious to what's happening. But I believe it's gone bonkers today with several posts about the handicapper and Stawell.

Having spoken to a VAL identity in the last 20 minutes, I'm a little more informed.

What I can say is that Stawell is concerned if not frustrated with the goings on in the VAL and are definitely looking at its options. The Stawell Athletic Club wants a Special General Meeting to sort this mess out.

I believe Matt Boyes is actually speaking to all parties to see if there's any common ground. In fairness to Matt he had little understanding of what he was getting into and is now learning very quickly that there's issues involved far more deep seated and complicated than he thought.

"Let's Go While We're Young"

16 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:17 pm


Thanks for the nice words. I'd like to post more often, but I'm working in Europe at the moment, so I don't have much time.

It's a shame that this situation has turned out like it has. Again, from what was reported, I don't see how the disagreements between the various parties were not capable of being remedied, but the situation has deteriorated further.

I suppose the important thing to remember is that all parties need to consider what is important here: the sport. Individual grievances should be put aside (even temporarily) for the benefit of the sport.

17 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:33 pm


ProTrack A Grader
ProTrack A Grader
Dear VAL and Clubs
The Ballarat Athletics Club would like the Board of the VAL to hold a Special General Meeting (SGM) as early as the Constitution allows in order to address the issues that have occurred at Board level since the AGM (including resignations) and to ensure we have a stable Board in place for the 2011/12 season. We are seeking full disclosure of what transpired behind the scenes so we and all member clubs can make an informed judgment as to whether the current Board will be able to deliver that stability or whether a fresh election is required.
It is our understanding that 10 clubs must support this request, so we ask that all clubs in favour of calling a SGM confirm their support by replying to this email stating that they support the calling of a SGM.
We have 4 motions below that we would like heard on the day, but would ask other clubs to provide any other relevant motions that they would like heard.
We will also be requesting that the Board allow the meeting to be an ‘open’ meeting and that any athletes or trainers be allowed to attend as observers (if this request is not granted this will be our first motion).
We would also ask that the VAL makes all preparations necessary so that a fresh election can be held on the day if motions 3 is successful.
The motions are as follows:
1. ‘That all athletes, trainers and officials be allowed to attend the Special General Meeting as observers’

2. ‘That the CEO and current and past Board members fully disclose all the discussions that took place at and leading up to the AGM, August Board Meeting and the Emergency Board Meeting regarding the AGM voting process’

And depending on the evidence and discussion provided under motion 2:

3. ‘That an immediate dissolution of the Board and a fresh election of all positions be held today, with 4 directors to be elected on 1 year terms, 5 directors to be elected on 2 year terms, and a further director to be nominated by the Victorian Runners and Trainers Association.’

Yours sincerely

Ballarat Athletics Club

That is a good and balanced request from Ballarat. It is in the interest of all clubs to move forward in harmony and to collectively form a Board that operates in the best interest of all stakeholders (including the runners and trainers). It is important that common ground be found and the best and most skilled people are on the Board and that a succession plan is put in place.

18 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:14 pm


Can some please outline the lies?

The lies get to the bottom of the situation.

Put your name to it as well!!!

19 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:11 pm


Thanks 'FAST' for the letter from Ballarat AC. Will be keen to find out what comes from it.

20 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:32 am

Club Ten

I understand 10 clubs have come forward to request a SGM. Ballarat, Stawell, Avondale Heights, St Bernards, Woodside, Daylesford, Bendigo, Movember, Ringwood and VRTA. Ballarat's request for athletes and trainers to attend hasn't been confirmed by the VAL Board yet.

21 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:32 am


Any other clubs come forward?? What is Burramine and Keilor doing?? SGM Date??

22 on Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:35 pm


guess who is investigating the bradley forum.

23 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:00 am



We're not interested in issues raised on Albany being brought across here. Leave that discussion for Albany.

Thanks all the same.

PY aka Admin

24 Re: VAL Handicap Position on Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:51 am


Does MOB have the job now?

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