British Dressage announces financial package for venues and officials
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The British Dressage Board has agreed a series of measures aimed at providing financial support to organisers and judges during the current cost-of-living crisis.
In the current economic climate, concerns have inevitably been raised about rising costs and high inflation, which could potentially have an impact on the commercial viability of shows. In consultation with key stakeholders and technical committees, the BD Board has undertaken a review of two key areas of the sport, starter levies and judge payments, while also making a pledge to freeze membership prices in 2023.
As a result, several measures will be implemented from the start of the new qualification season, from 1 July 2022, for all regular national competition (i.e., from Preliminary up to Advanced Medium), including:
• The removal of all minimum starter levy payments, so venues will only pay competitor levies based on the actual number of entries.
• A reduction in the starter levy payable per competitor from £2.00 to £1.50 for a twelve-month period.
• An increase in judge payments per starter split into two tiers, defined by list:
o Lists 1 to 4 – increase from £1.00 to £1.50 per starter
o Lists 5 & 6 – increase from £1.00 to £1.25 per starter
In addition, the £2.00 rate per starter at all levels will now also apply at High Profile Shows, to bring this in line with Premier Leagues and BD National, Winter and Area Festival Championships. All FEI tests at regular competition will remain at £2.00 per starter.
Caroline Godfrey, BD Interim Chair and Finance Director explained: “By reducing starter levies, BD is effectively subsidising the increase in payments for judges for the first 12 months. We wanted to find a way to enhance the rate of pay for judges, without having an immediate financial impact on organisers, or resulting in extra costs being passed on to competitors. Our commitment is to operate under this commercial new structure from 1 July 2022 through to 30 June 2023 as a minimum, which will then be reviewed again when formulating our budgets for next year.
“It is important to note that the basic rate for judges has not been increased since payments were initially introduced over a decade ago, so these changes are long overdue. With the ongoing cost of living crisis and rising fuel prices, the Board agreed that it was critical to address this imbalance, to ensure that BD venues can continue to attract the number and level of judges required to support our competitions.”
By introducing a two-tiered approach to judge payments, the aim is to encourage venues to use lower listed judges at regular competitions, to provide them with additional opportunities and help support their progression through the levels, while continuing to use higher listed judges for Elementary and above.
Jason Brautigam, BD Chief Executive, commented: “We have had a stronger than anticipated recovery from the pandemic, which has allowed us to use some of the surplus generated last year to support these initiatives and help to safeguard the future of the sport.
“It is everyone’s interests to ensure that shows remain commercially viable and attractive propositions for our members, organisers and officials. With over 18,000 active members and 17,000 horse registrations the sport is in good health currently, but there is no room for complacency, and we will continue to monitor participation numbers closely.”
We are very mindful of the impact that the rising cost of living will be having on our members too, particularly with the high price of fuel, and this will continue to be at the top of the agenda for the Board of Directors over coming months.
The BD Board has pledged to maintain membership subscription fees at current levels, if possible, when reviewing our pricing policy at the end of the year. With inflation expected to rise to 10%, this will be budget dependent, given that membership fees have only increased once since the start of 2019. However, our focus remains on ensuring members continue to receive excellent value for money.
Directors will also be discussing the additional investment required to underpin BD’s strategic plan at their two-day Board Meeting later this month, aiming to allocate up to 10% of reserves annually to prioritise specific areas for development over the next three years, in line with the organisation’s charitable objectives.
Jason Brautigam added: “Everyone in British Dressage has worked incredibly hard to make sure that the sport survived and thrived over the past two and a half years, including our staff, volunteers, organisers, officials and members. Having weathered the storm during the Covid crisis, we want this hard work to be effectively rewarded, by investing back into the sport for the benefit of all participants.”