The EBU is owned 100% by County Associations who are its shareholders. There are 39 County Associations and currently 93 shares in issue. The number of shares held by each County depends on the number of members.
The LCBA at 31 March 2014 had 933 members, so is entitled to 2 shares and 2 votes. The County Association is therefore a part owner of the EBU.
There are currently 10 directors (the maximum permitted under the Articles of Association), all of whom receive no remuneration. They are volunteers. Up to 8 of the directors are appointed by the shareholders and then the board and appoint further directors as long as the total does not exceed 10. One third of the elected directors retire by rotation each year so at each AGM 2 directors must retire (they can of course offer themselves for re-election). A director therefore has a term of 4 years before having to seek re-election. A director cannot be an employee.
Reporting to the directors are 3 standing committees. Law & Ethics, Tournament and Selection. These committees are made up of a maximum of 7 ordinary player members (an ordinary player member is a member who is a member by virtue of being a member of an affiliated club), unremunerated. Appointments to the standing committee are made by shareholders at the AGM and are for a term of three years. If there are more than three vacancies an election is held and the first three get a three year term, the next a two year term and further nominees get a one year term. A member cannot serve for more than 5 consecutive years, or for more than five years out of ten. An employee can be a member of a Standing Committee but cannot be the chairman of a standing committee. No member of the panel of tournament directors can be a chairman or vice chairman of the tournament or Law & Ethics committees.
The board are intending to abolish the Standing Committees and replace them with sub-committees appointed by the Board rather than election by shareholders. There are three standing committees tournament, selection and law & ethics. These have existed since the 1940s.
This was thought to be well past its sell by date and some shareholders who had served on the committee supported that view. The board make all the financial decisions regarding the tournaments and the EBU staff organise them and sort out venues leaving the tournament committee with not a great deal of input.
The committee has very specialised work to do and its main problem is conflicts of interest. Recently two decisions have been passed 5-4. The board asked the shareholders to name one other sport where the teams are selected by an elected committee. The board asked if members are as capable as the board in finding these specialised people to make the selections.
The Law & Ethics functions will be split so that it becomes a regulatory body only. Matters of discipline will be dealt with separately, keeping the existing Disciplinary panel to act as the Judiciary.
It will require an amendment of the EBU Articles of Association to implement the changes. The board pointed out that we now rarely get an election for the standing committees anyway so members are not exercising the right to stand on the committees.
The Directors may also establish Working Groups to make recommendations to the Board and/or Standing Committees. No Directors’ powers may be delegated to Working Groups. Members of Working Groups do not have to be EBU members. Two examples of working groups are a National Grading Scheme working group , and the Counties Working Groups (5 regional groups (e.g. The Midland Counties working group chaired by Darren Evatts)) coordinated by a National County Working Group.
There are also panels in the structure (under standing committee control) examples of which are a disciplinary panel, a tournament directors panel, and an awards panel. The English Bridge Editorial Board and the Tournament Directors Development group are similar in nature to a panel. There is an All Party Parliamentary Group for Bridge (which at times organises games between UK and other parliaments).
This is the new venture of the EBU. It is set up as a Charitable Trust (run by a board of trustees) with a remit of Education and Development of bridge. It has only been running for about six months and during the year ended 31 March 2014 the EBU transferred a cash donation of £45,000 and donated educational books with a cost value of £10,791 to the Trust. There are six trustees, see http://www.ebedcio.org.uk/trustees and they include Jeremy Dhondy (current EBU Chairman) and Andrew Petrie (current EBU director and treasurer). EBED remit now includes the Bridge For All programme and Tournament Directors teaching programme.
All the above is backed up by a staff of 19 (wages and salaries £457K (£508K including national insurance and pensions) with an office base in Aylesbury, Bucks headed up by General Manager Barry Capal.
There are two a year, one in April/May and one in October/November. The latter meeting doubles up as the EBU Annual General Meeting.