Individual Membership FAQs
6th October 2011
The Membership Committee has been tasked by the ETTA Directors to develop proposals for a system of Individual Membership. Debate on this issue has been ongoing for many years but it has become more important in recent years.
The need to communicate directly with the membership and to be able to report on participation in the sport have become much more important for the ETTA. A system of Individual Membership could also greatly assist in improving the support available to the ‘grass roots’ of the game and at the same time help to ensure that members are aware of the opportunities available to them.
The intention is to develop proposals over the next few months and at the same time encourage discussion throughout Counties, Leagues and Clubs prior to a debate at January National Council and at the Annual General Meeting in June.
To inform this discussion the following information on current thinking, in the form of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, has been produced by the Committee.
I would welcome any comments you may have, please send them by 20th December 2007 to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to the Hastings office at: ETTA, Queensbury House, Havelock Road, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1HF.
Alex Murdoch Chairman
‘FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS’
Question 1: Why does the ETTA need to change from the current system of League Team
Affiliations to Individual Membership?
The current League Team Affiliation system has a number of shortcomings:
• It is ‘indirect’, it does not relate to individual players but rather to team places, so those playing in more than one league pay multiple fees to the ETTA.
• The ETTA has few details about those playing table tennis and therefore cannot take into account their needs nor communicate directly with them.
• A large number of people play table tennis, most of them are affiliated to the ETTA, but currently only those that play in affiliated local leagues (or hold a competition licence) pay affiliation fees.
• ETTA affiliation fees are often combined with League and County fees and the element that goes to the ETTA is often not known by the individual player.
• The system does not provide the accurate numbers or details of those who are affiliated that the ETTA needs to report on participation in Table Tennis.
Question 2: How would Individual Membership improve matters?
A system of Individual Membership would:
• Encompass more of those that play table tennis.
• Bring more people into ETTA affiliation /membership, for instance those involved in projects such as the PESSCL and the Club and Coach programmes.
• Relate directly to the individual.
• Provide a sense of ‘belonging’ to the table tennis community as a whole.
• Enable direct two way communication between the ETTA and its members.
• Reduce the administrative load of league and club secretaries.
• Provide more accurate information on more of those playing, which would allow tailoring of services to suit the members and more accurate reporting of the state of the sport to Sport England, whilst at the same time increasing our opportunities for support from the Youth Sports Trust, Sports Coach UK and potential Regional and County partners.
• Provide transparency in the finances of the ETTA
Question 3: What are the principles of the proposed new system?
The principles of the Individual Membership system currently under development include:
• Levels of membership to suit all those involved in table tennis – four levels are under consideration:
o Level 1 – equivalent to a current licence holder.
o Level 2 – equivalent to a current league player.
o Level 3 – for recreational players, in clubs or schools, etc.
o Level 4 – for non-players such as officers, officials, parents, supporters etc.
• Membership at one level would include the levels below and each individual would pay only one membership fee.
• Fees for Levels 1 and 2 would relate to the present levels for Licence holders and league players , that is £16.50 and £4.28 respectively for senior players in 2007/8, with a small added element to cover additional benefits such as personal insurance.
• Fees for Levels 3 and 4 would be less than those for Level 2.
• Concessionary fee rates for Junior and Cadets would be available.
• Membership ‘packages’ similar to Gold and Silver Licences would be available at all Levels.
Question 4: What if I play in more than one league?
You would pay one membership fee to the ETTA, at Level 2 (or Level 1 if you also wish to play in tournaments and national competitions). Your ETTA membership would allow you to play in any affiliated league. You would continue to pay league and county fees for each league you play in.
Question 5: Why should I become a member, I see few benefits to joining the ETTA as a 3rd
division local league player, playing once a week?
You are already a member and pay a fee of £4.28 to the ETTA through your league fees, for each league you play in, although you may not realise this. The ETTA provides the structure for the sport in England, including the league(s) that you play in and campaigns on behalf of all table tennis players. The ETTA also helps and supports development of the sport in many areas, a new
’benefits book’ is being produced to highlight all of the work the ETTA does, which will go on the website and be circulated to Local League Secretaries for distribution.
Question 6: Alex Murdoch said in his election manifesto that he wanted a database of
members and this would be done without any cost to the membership, is this still true?
Yes. Production of a database is being progressed via the Individual Registration forms currently in use. The Individual Membership system would continue this process without an increase in cost to the individual member. There would of course be a cost to administering the system but the individual fees would not be increased for this reason.
Question 7: How would I be able to become a member?
You would be able to join ‘online’ via the ETTA website, by post or by telephone and during the initial introduction period through your local league or club.
Question 8: What benefits would I get?
Once you have become a member you would receive a membership card and number, a copy of the ‘benefits book’ mentioned in Question 5 above, personal insurance cover and special offers for instance for merchandise or event tickets, together with the benefits you selected as part of your membership ‘package’, such as TTNews subscription.
Question 9. How would I be able to pay?
Membership fees would be able to be paid by credit card or charge card on the Website or by telephone. Personal cheques, credit card or charge card details could be used with postal applications.
Question 10: How would the insurance work and how would it benefit me?
Most clubs and leagues take out Public Liability insurance and its cost is passed onto their members via the club and league fees paid. Direct insurance as part of Individual Membership would mean that Clubs and Leagues would not have to take out insurance for their individual members and those who are playing in more that one League would pay only once for insurance.
The insurance offered through Individual Membership would also include Personal Accident insurance, which most Leagues and Clubs do not provide.
Question 11: How would the system affect leagues and clubs?
The proposed system would free leagues and clubs from having to provide information on their members to the ETTA and from having to collect fees on behalf of the ETTA. Indeed the intention is to provide information back to leagues and clubs on their members, subject to suitable Data Protection procedures of course.
Question 12: How would the new system affect voting rights?
Voting rights would not change as part of the current proposals but they are under consideration as a separate issue for the future. Leagues would continue to receive a number of votes based on their size and counties would continue to receive a number of votes based on the size of the leagues in the county. Future proposals may relate more directly to Individual Membership, for instance with each member able to nominate the club or league through which they wish to vote, although a ‘one member one vote’ system may well not be workable.
Question 13: How and when would the new system be introduced?
Changes to the basis of affiliation and membership can only be made at the AGM and changes involving finance normally take 12 months to come into effect. It is hoped that the necessary changes would be considered at the 2008 AGM and if approved come into effect for the 2009/10 season.
Question 14: How can my views be heard and do I have a vote?
You can make your views known to your local league committee and/or to your county committee, both of which could vote on your behalf at the AGM. Normally about 25,000 votes are cast by leagues and counties on behalf of their members.
Question 15: What would stop the ETTA putting up charges once this system is in place?
The level of fees can only be changed at an AGM. Membership fees would be controlled in the same way as current affiliation fees.
Question 16: What would happen to me if I do not want to join but still want to play?
You would still be able to play but not in an affiliated local league, an ETTA organised event or in matches against an affiliated club, although we would of course hope that you would join to enjoy the benefits of membership.
Question 17: What about players who only play in a league once or twice a year to fill in?
All players in local Leagues would need to be members. Many such ‘fill in’ players are likely to either play in other leagues in which case they would already be a member, or they belong to a club in which case they could upgrade their membership to allow them to play in the league at minimal cost.
Question 18: I just play recreationally with friends at a leisure centre would I be able to join?
You would not have to join but you would be very welcome if you and your friends choose to join.
Question 19: My School runs an after school table tennis club, would our pupils have to join?
They would not have to join but would be very welcome to do so. If your club is involved in coaching provided by the ETTA or as part of a Government Initiative which is funded via the ETTA, such as PESSCL or the Club and Coach Programme your pupils would be expected to become members of the ETTA.
Your School could also consider entering the Regional and National Schools Competitions organised by the English Schools Table Tennis Association (ESTTA) and membership of the ETTA would benefit your pupils by ensuring that they are fully aware of these and others events for young players as well as receiving the benefits of membership.
Question 20: I play local league but from time to time might wish to enter a Grand Prix or other ETTA events would I have to buy a licence?
Licences would no longer exist. You would have the choice of upgrading your membership from Level 2 to Level 1 to include entry into such events or paying an individual fee for each event, in a similar way to the current Single Competition fee. Which is the better option for you would depend on how many events you think you will enter during the season.
Question 21: At present I am a Gold Licence Holder how would this new scheme affect me?
In essence the new scheme will affect you very little. You would be able to join at Level 1 and be able to choose a benefit package equivalent to your current Gold Licence. If you also play in more than one Local League you would benefit because you would not pay an ETTA fee via each league.
Question 22: I am at School and not a member of a club or league but go to coaching sessions at my school and sometimes at a local club, would I have to join?
You would still be able go to your coaching sessions but you would not be able to play in an affiliated local league, ETTA organised event or in matches against an affiliated club, although we would of course hope that you would join to enjoy the benefits of membership.
Question 23: My league is not affiliated and I cannot play anywhere else as no affiliated
league is nearby. Can I become a member?
In an ideal world your league would affiliate and its members join the ETTA so that you can all enjoy the benefits of membership. However if your league did not choose to affiliate you would be in an awkward position as ETTA rules do not allow Competitive Play between affiliated and nonaffiliated players.
Question 24: My Dad and Mum do not play but want to join, can they and how do they do it?
Yes they can at Level 4, which is for parents and other non-players who wish to keep in touch with what is going on in Table Tennis.
Question 25: Can I move up from one level to another, as I get better?
Yes, you can upgrade from one Level to a higher one as you improve and wish to take part in more activities and events.