I attended the recent Annual Congress of the CEP which took place in France during the Mens European Championships, to represent the WPA
Chairing the Congress was Mike Pegg, as President of the CEP. Tony Smith from Wales was there as Treasurer of the CEP. It was held in a large auditorium with around 24 countries’ representatives present.
Various reports were made by Committee members and the meeting finished with the draw for the first round of the precision shooting championships. The meeting took several hours. This note to members is a brief round up of the main points of the CEP Congress and some brief commentary..
1. In Europe there are now 41 national petanque federations, including four which were accepted at the Congress, namely Armenia, Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia, the largest number ever. The CEP is keen to add more countries from Eastern Europe.
This will intensify the pressure on all countries as the Mens’ European Championships is used to find the top 24 or so National teams from Europe to be invited in the following year to the World Championships.
In future years, if the sport is an Olympic sport, the same ranking system might be used if there is, as in the Petanque World Championships, a limit on the total number teams taking part. It is also possible that the places allocated to European federations may be reduced from 24 in the future.
2. The CEP’s permanent headquarters is now in Luxembourg. It had to adopt a new constitution, compliant with Luxembourg law, but that has also given it access to some money, available to sports bodies in Luxembourg.
Its offices are in a government building, and it is close to a bouladrome. It is planning to offer it as an international centre of excellence for coaches, umpires and players to go to.
3. It was explained by the CEP Secretary that there had been too many events at the end of last season, all at the same time, and this will not be allowed to happen again.
4. The CEP committee has been reorganised with a Board member or Director responsible for group reports on areas of activity.
5. There was a CEP Auditor’s report from Colin Stewart, known to all from his role in the SPA, as a talented Scottish player, and also taking part as a player in these Championships – a man of many parts and skills!
There was a discussion of the finances of the CEP, including arrangements for paying a contribution to certain officials of 500 euros from an outside body which was matched by the CEP.
The discussion also took in the projected cost of providing the courses at the proposed centre of excellence. The treasurer’s view was that without an increase in CEP membership fees there was a risk that the courses would not be able to cover their costs and might have to be abandoned, so the Congress agreed to a small increase in membership fees.
6. The question of eligibility to play for a country was also raised. After a fairly loud and robust debate, in several languages, often at the same time, it was agreed, but not unanimously, to adopt the CEP’s proposal. That was to include as CEP rules of its competitions the relevant rules set by the Olympic Committee. These rules are based on as it were “eligibility by passport”.
It was identified by a number of the smaller countries such as San Marino and Andorra, as causing them major problems because the majority of their populations don’t hold the passport of their place of residence, but want to play for those countries.
It may also cause problems which will need to be addressed by the Home Nations, because the three countries have only one passport, a GB passport. The new rule has implications for the eligibility to play rules for each of the nations.
It does also for Jersey and the other Channel Islands, which have their own different version of the “GB” passport.
I asked that the position of the Home Nations countries be explicitly referred to in the new CEP rules, and I was assured it would be. The Jersey representative asked for the same treatment. Special arrangements will also be needed for Andorra and San Marino. I believe there is already in place a special arrangement for Monaco.
It will be interesting to see what is produced, and it will affect us in Wales. It is a decision which is entirely understandable, and it is difficult to see what else the CEP might have proposed, but it means that the Home Nations will need to meet to discuss the wider implications.
Each of the Home Nations, including Wales, will now need to consider the implications for their own rules of eligibility in the new context. Members may recall this was a subject that I kicked off a discussion about at a recent general meeting held in Caerleon. We now need to develop that discussion.
7. The CEP Board under its newly drawn constitution announced that in future the CEP Congress will no longer take place at an annual European Championships, but in Luxembourg, and probably over a 2/3 day period, over a weekend, at the start of the season. Presidents of federations will be expected to attend that, and not the European Championships. Federations will of course have to meet the cost, but the CEP will put together a package.
8. CESB. This new body covers or is intended to cover ball sports in Europe, and Mike Pegg was congratulated on his appointment as its President.
9. Future events were mentioned. These included events which are set to take place and others which will not take place if no federation offers to host them.
The 2018 Ladies European Championships will be held at Palavas-les-flots, just south of Montpellier in France, on the coast. The 2019 European Veterans will be at Albena in Bulgaria on the Black Sea Coast, in mid September, with the European Mens Triples at the same place in the following week.
Currently there are no hosts for the other events.