Dear John,

You and your Board, "Just simply don't get it!" It is clear that the member voice is strong and equally clear that you and your Board have not listened.

I hold a number of proxy votes. Ivan and others hold considerably more. Upon us, we have a considerable weight of responsibility in exercising the votes for those members who gave them to us in good faith. Unless I am mistaken, the expectation upon us is that we uphold representative democracy through one president and one president only, who will be accountable to all of us through elections.

Much more than that, without exception, all the proxy votes I have collected have been backed up by a vote for Ivan because those members want Ivan to represent us at all levels and in all aspects of the sport. Should Ivan be elected, to have a second president will undermine his position in representing those who have voted for him, whether he is acting on domestic matters or international matters. Yes, international matters, for I have no doubt that Ivan has considerable respect abroad.

In your letter you refer to governance compliance targets, to which I would make two points at this stage:

  1. As members we will not be subjected to blackmail from Sport England and UK Sport, simply for the benefit of a few. Undoubtedly, there have been some benefits to some clubs from Sport England funding and hopefully most would agree that our international athletes deserve some support. However, the 'win at all costs' mentality dictating decision-making across our sport is extremely harmful, even for the sections it claims to support. It might surprise those many members not involved in competition, or taking part in non-Olympic disciplines that if all the UK Sport money disappeared tomorrow, it would have a positive impact on those in our sport with aspirations at the 1000m events (that's nearly half of the Olympic flat water programme)!

  2. Your reference above is no doubt to 'A Code for Sports Governance'. I appreciate that vast sums of public money will have some conditions attached. As a sport, we need to decide whether it's worth it. Putting that debate aside for now, please go to, Requirement 5 (page 20): "Committee members are subject to regular election and ideally should serve no more than nine years." By the way, I'm also aware of Term Limits (requirements 1.13 to 1.15) on page 36 (questionable whether these requirements would even help you in the present context). So far as I can see, it doesn't stipulate the need for a 'Life President'. There is simply no need to create a life presidency to satisfy 'governance compliance targets'.

Two other points on your proposals.

  1. In your open letters and correspondence with me you keep referring to your strategic plan. Where is it?! How can members make judgments without sight of it? Since you make much of it, you should have published it many weeks before the AGM. I am not filled with confidence. Am I to assume that it will be no more than a re-hash of Raising the Game, The Strategic Plan for England Golf, 2014 - 2017?!

  2. You are asking members and those of us carrying proxy votes to make a decision on a life presidency and upon Albert personally, before the result of the election for president. In fact, you are asking us to base our decision without ever knowing the result of the election. If Albert is democratically elected, then he goes to international meetings with a mandate. If he is not, any such decision as to his suitability as a life president must be made following a full and considered case put to the members. In my opinion, there would have to be exceptional circumstances, as I have already stated above how the position of life president will undermine the role of the elected president.

I am copying this letter as widely as possible with a request that it be circulated on social media, so that those of us holding proxy will listen to those who have entrusted us with their votes.

Best wishes,