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Setting the story right re World Cup Entry Fees

Show Profile  addison Posted: 23 November 2012, 8:45 AM  
Firstly, it's really great to see so many people passionate about our sport and willing to speak their mind. I personally appreciate it, it helps us to understand peoples feelings and their own priorities.

I think it's really important that I explain the context of some of the decisions made so that everyone can understand where we are coming from.

We gave the Oceania Carnival out to the Wellington Area, as per our rotation of events. Wellington Club in particular put their hand up to make this event happen. They committed to it, ensured it would finanically work for them and started to proceed with planning. Every 4 years we do run Oceania in New Zealand, and yes, we do have an increase in levies for that year. However, that doesn't mean we significantly increase our spending for that one year, we balance it out across the next 4 years.

We then were offered to run a round of the World Cup from the IOF. We had to negotiate quite hard to ensure that this was financially not going to make us broke. We still are paying event sanction fees, but these are reduced. So we thought we're getting a better deal than most and we're confident that our elites will want to run on home soil. The difficult discusion then started with the Oceania clubs around the running of this event, and they pointed out to us that there was huge financial risk.

At that stage there was an "Oceania" and a "World Cup" divide. The NZOF doesn't have the capacity to run events and it was important that we had a combined entity "Oceania/World Cup". This has taken some negotiation and goodwill on both sides, and I must say I am really thankful to the clubs involved for their willingness to see the big picture on this. So the simple maths that people are doing with levies isn't actually the case, and I don't want to go into the detail here but its all about making sure all parties have an appropriate amount of risk and that no party is overly exposed. We agreed as the NZOF to underwrite the potential loss of the event, and we continue that underwriting. So put in simple terms, if the event loses money then the NZOF loses money.

I'm the President and the buck stops with me. Our primary purpose is to grow the sport overall, not to serve any one part of it. Everyone has their own opinions about what we should and shouldn't do - and it is really important that you participate in our strategic planning process for that very reason. But we can't do anything if we go broke. Now I'm not willing to put the NZOF in that potential position without doing everything possible. Us committing to fully funding 20 people's entries, when in 1994 the team was say 3-4 people per sex, would be entirely inappropriate in my mind considering the risks we have applied to simply get the event here.

The next question is one around support and our priorities. We used to fund most of our money to the individuals. We now have moved towards funding coaches and managers to ensure that we are putting money towards things which make a difference. For the entry fees whether we pay, clubs pay or the individual pays will basically make no difference to the success of the individual or in this case how many people will go or not go.

With limited resources we can't afford to do things without a strategic mind and I am willing to put the question out there:
- should we look to reward great performance by paying more to individuals who do well?
- should we be funding more towards those that are un-waged compared to those that are waged?
- etc

In addition to the underwriting of the event, we've also committed a budget of $5k for the squad for the buildup to the event to help pay things such as flights and expenses for the coach/manager. We've also committed to partially funding entries, but not entirely. I'm interested by the debate around the fact we're not doing full funding, but just as I understand your perspective you must understand ours.

We're here to grow our sport with the limited resources that we have. Not everyone will agree with how to do that, and I'm not saying we'll always get it right either. But, I'm willing to reevaluate our position based on constructive feedback and sound argument, so feel free to get in touch with any of us to discuss.

Show Profile  addison Posted: 23 November 2012, 9:05 AM  
It's also important to note that for the last year until Duncan was appointed we didn't have a High Performance Director. This was definitely a hole, one which has made things a bit complicated around dates etc and is what we would deem to be a critical role for us going forward.

This resulted in lack of clarity at an early stage regarding dates and trials etc, one which I hope won't eventuate again.

Show Profile  Alistair Posted: 23 November 2012, 11:47 AM  
Some statistics...

In 1994:
Men: 61 entered
Women 55 entered

In 2013 (according to the Oceania FB site, maybe more now?)
Men: 65 entered
Women: 55 entered

In 1994, the NZ team had 6 men & 6 women.

Back in 1994 the NZOF certainly didn't take 25% of all entry fees that it does today.

Maybe the NZOF shouldn't pay the full 100% of the team entry fee for all 10 runners, but it should go a lot further than the mere 33% (less the 25% we presume they get back!?) it has offered.

Show Profile  Alistair Posted: 23 November 2012, 12:03 PM  
One little question which only someone from the organisers back in 1994 could probably answer - did the NZOF pay for the WC entries back then, or did the organisers just waive them?

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 23 November 2012, 12:06 PM  
OK big man, titling a thread 'Setting the story straight' implies that everyone else is wrong and there has just been a huge misunderstanding. Your word-weaving doesn't really change the facts, it's just a bunch of what-ifs and poor excuses. The NZOF perspective you described just seems rather fictional to me - does it reflect the opinions of the entire council?

I think there has been more than enough constructive feedback and sound argument already for you to re-evaluate your position, both from those directly affected by World Cup entry fees and others.

The potential loss you speak of was minuscule at best, and the simple math by Greg is still right. The event was always going to make money. The costs to the organisers are nothing compared to other big overseas events, yet the entry fees are even higher! Also, from what I understand there has been a lot of trust funding received on top of this, and that the number of entrants required to break even has already been met a while ago - anything on top is profit. The 'risks taken to get the event here' weren't risks, the event was basically handed to NZ. The 25% levy is from gross entry fees received. This means that it is in NZOF's best interest to make entry fees as high as possible. It also means that the work for the event organisers is a lot harder in order to make a profit. I am willing to bet that NZOF will make nearly as much, if more out of this than the event organisers.

You can't grow the sport if you never serve any one part of it. Focusing all efforts over the entire scope of orienteering at once when funds are as limited as you imply will never achieve anything. Growth will be a crawl.

Why do we have to have a coach/manager for world cups? I think everyone would rather have their entries paid for if given the choice. The team would do just fine looking after themselves, they have a lot if experience in that area. How many of the trialists have seen any benefit from the $5000? There is little/no time for training camps between trials and WCs. People have jobs and other responsibilities and it's leaving things a bit late to get any real benefit from a couple of technical trainings.

If NZOF were willing to underwrite Oceania/World Cups and had direct dealings with the organisers, then the entry fees for NZ world Cup participants should have been addressed at that time. If there was such great concern over making a loss, then entry fees could have been adjusted accordingly.

As far as I'm concerned, with NZOF at the moment, most of money just goes in and doesn't come out. Sprint The Bay levies over the last few years would have been more than enough to cover the teams entries, even after our fund-raising relief.

You talk about the strategic plan that is being made. What ever happened to the last strategic plan?

I am unwilling to pay the ridiculous price for the trial races based on the potential lost revenue by the Oceania organisers. That idea is just plain sick. I wouldn't be running the Oceania race in question (or the others for that matter) regardless of whether or not I make the world cup team. That's just theft.

NZ clubs are very independent and I don't NZOF think going broke would be as big of a deal as you say it would, the clubs might even thrive. As I said in the mapping thread about the Slump, there's only a certain amount of times you can try to amend something or update it before you're better off starting from scratch again.

Frankly Simon, I'm not confident in your leadership skills and intentions as NZOF president, and I've had quite enough of your bullying tactics and grand-standing.

But that might just be my opinion.

Show Profile  pete s Posted: 23 November 2012, 1:52 PM  
Whilst maptalk is a great place for debate and sharing views, I don't think it should be a place for personal attacks and plain nastiness.

Your comments Ross are out of order and disrespectful.

Simon has come on here to explain the position around world cup fees and how the NZOF has come to the decisions it has. You don't have to agree with what he has shared, and in fact Simon has made it clear that he is open to views and feedback.

I'm a little stunned that you have attacked him around the things that he is actually applying well to his role as President. Simon has done a brilliant job in his time as President and we have seen the NZOF start to shift and grow in a way that was needed. In particular, here is a guy who has put his hand up to do a job which does not get a lot of thanks, and which has needed a few tough calls being made. He has balls, which is more than could be said of some people on this forum - how many of you would put your hand up for President? Few I imagine.

On the topic of fees, i am a little surprised at the attitudes displayed here and the expectation that the NZOF has bottomless pockets to fund everything you think they should. I am struggling to understand why it should be the NZOF's role to pay entry fees for the wider NZ team - it just smacks of a sense of entitlement. Where is the appreciation for what it has done???

So whilst we can sit behind our PC's whinging about this issue, other people are getting on and trying to make a thing out of this event, which really we should all be getting behind and celebrating the fact that we have a world cup on our doorstep.

Seriously, there are bigger things to worry about than entry fees, but more than that there are plenty of positives which we should be focusing on and making sure we get behind.

In the meantime I urge you Ross, and others that may be thinking nasty things to keep your comments in check - it is not OK, and you are attacking someone who is doing their best, and taking plenty on in trying to better the sport. Remember the NZOF is a volunteer organization as well - no one gives their time to be abused and disrespected, so keep that in mind before you open your mouths (and keypads) and unload - it aint pretty.

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 23 November 2012, 2:29 PM  
Hi Pete,

There were no personal attacks, if you think so you may be reading into things a bit too much.

I didn't say anything about Simon as a person, only in his role as president, and the way he is dealing with things, especially as of late.

Simon and I are friends and have been for many years. I know of Simon making personal attacks before for no justifiable reason, and very publicly too. I assure you I could have worded my response to his post in a much nastier fashion if I so desired. But someone has to have some balls stand up to the buck stoppers, otherwise the little peoples opinions just get quashed if they don't align with the agenda.

I didn't say that NZOF should directly pay for World Cup entry fees, some negotiation by both the organisers and the federation could have been made. The federation and the organisers have put a lot of effort into getting trust funding and other financial aid for the event, why haven't they done so for the athletes? Simply because they don't stand to make a profit from them.

NZOF is a volunteer organisation, agreed, but they are also supposed to be a non-profit organisation, so why act like one?

I apologise to anyone I offend, but I still maintain my view on this matter. I have held my tongue for too long, so maybe what comes out sounds a bit bitter. But this is a public forum. No-one has to read it if they don't want to.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 24 November 2012, 11:47 AM  

Anyone going orienteering tomorrow? It is fun.

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 24 November 2012, 12:39 PM  
I've been trying to keep out of this but after having read a comment, I can't.

Pete, you ask "I am struggling to understand why it should be the NZOF's role to pay entry fees for the wider NZ team"

The answer to that is very easy - the entrant to any international elite competition - WOC, JWOC, World Cups - is NZOF, not individual athletes. If NZOF doesn't want any representation at international events, the answer is simple - don't enter. But of course, NZOF does want elite athletes running international competition (or at least, I hope they still do). So Pete, my argument would be is it is probably in NZOF's best interests to have representation at international elite events, and NZOF should facilitate that. I'm a little concerned from what I have seen over the past few weeks that a different message may be being received. I would also counsel that given NZOF is the entrant to an international event, any time an individual athlete pays an entry fee it is DOING SO ON BEHALF OF NZOF. It is an important point to understand. So to say it "smacks of entitlement" I believe, is way off the mark.

To "both sides", I say you need each other to exist and need to find a way to co-exist. Frankly, I am a little surprised that 1/3rd of entry fees was mooted - ir is a little on the Scrooge side. On the other hand, athletes "expecting" 100% may not be being wholly realistic either. Unfortunately, the increase in team size to 10+10 is partially the problem - I'd like to see 6+6 funded and 4+4 not, but that's not PC in this day and age.

Here's hoping some common ground can be found, and quickly.

P.S. Alistair: can't remember if entry fees were paid in 1994 but can remember an airfare being purchased

Show Profile  Paul I Posted: 24 November 2012, 3:56 PM  
Living the dream of an Orienteering World Cup on home soil has become a reality to 20 hardworking and lucky Kiwi orienteers.
A huge amount of work has without doubt gone into this rare and exceptional event, from many administrators, planners and mappers over a long period of time. A huge thanks to all these people who have put their hands up to make this happen must be acknowledged.
It is true that most overseas teams would be funded, as we try to do when our athletes compete overseas to help with large expenses. To this respect having a World Cup within our shores is also much more affordable to our dedicated athletes, and a great spectacle to the general NZ O public. This is a win win so far, can we please make it a hat-trick.
In these unusual and exciting circumstances perhaps it may have been better to hold the trials fully funded, including accom, flights etc. to get the biggest possible field to these, no excuses. NZOF funds could then have also funded the mapping updates to get the most relevant terrain and paid the planners etc. to come up with the closest WC simulated courses as possible.
To the successful 20 - your reward speaks for itself!
Not many of us people are superwealthy, think also of those with families who also have to travel to the carnival. Money talk is fairly ugly but really apart from travel, orienteering is a fairly cheap sport.
Whatever compromise is made, if any, make the most of this thing, it's going to be awesome.
Shouldn't you be out training like the AOTC.

Show Profile  Rolf Posted: 24 November 2012, 9:42 PM  
Yep, out of line Rossmaxmo. That just came across as bitter personal attack. Criticize the issue or stance not the person please.

Thoughts on the comment
"NZ clubs are very independent and I don't NZOF think going broke would be as big of a deal as you say it would, the clubs might even thrive"
I think that is a bit absurd... and easy to say when you belong to one of the very strong clubs. It would be hard to be a NZ rep when there is no NZ federation to represent!

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 25 November 2012, 7:11 AM  
Fair call Rolf. I knew this post would get me a lot of flack and I acknowledged that it was maybe a bit bitter, but that's the only feeling I can get out of this ordeal (and preceding dealings as of late with the feds). I addressed a lot of the issues at hand, and what if the person (in their capacity as president) is the issue? The issue wouldn't be resolved if no-one says anything.

Re the NZOF going broke: This was an extreme case scenario, first entertained by Simon that would be pretty hard to actually achieve. Also, what would the strength of my club have to do with it the price of fish? Does the NZOF give financial support to the weaker clubs at the moment? If the federation went broke, I'm sure the collective orienteers around NZ just wouldn't sit there twiddling their thumbs. The FONZ would be born!

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 25 November 2012, 7:14 AM  
@Jamie. Yep, I went orienteering today. A score event on some great terrain with great weather - you were right, it was fun! Much more fun than Maptalk!

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 25 November 2012, 8:12 AM  
While we're on the topic of supporting NZ elites, this might offer some perspective:

Show Profile  rob.g Posted: 25 November 2012, 10:40 AM  

I agree with some of your points but also think you were way over the top in expressing them, and rubbishing Simon.

I reckon the NZOF key personel are the best we have ever had, and would hate to see any of them leaving their roles earlier than intended because of public criticism.

One solution to this mess is to allocate a lot less, or no, money to the 2013 World Champs, and put it towards the World Cups in NZ.

The airfare mentioned was the punt by the federation in 1994 to bring Alistair back from Sweden as our best runner to represent us and it certainly paid off.

All entry fees were paid in 1994, plus the ones for the Aus World cups a few days later, but only 12 team members, so only 36 team entries.

I think having coach and manager is really important, and if it is an allocation of $5000 I would assume includes o-suits, and NZ team gear.

As Paul says, it will be a great occasion and we should really get behind the organisers, the team, and just bring it on.

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 25 November 2012, 12:50 PM  
OK, I see the general consensus is that I shouldn't shoot my mouth off as much, MAYBE I will try to refrain in future. What I have written may seem very over-the-top, but it stems from much more than the world cup issues. I have experienced many horrors with regards to our leader which I can't believe have never become an issue. People are fine to complain about it amongst themselves, but people are too afraid to go public about it. I'm starting to understand why! A lot of what happens in NZ orienteering goes unseen/unheard by the orienteering community, and it's easy to look at a forum and say 'that guy is way out of line'. Perhaps I should have endevoured to proportion my frustrations more directly to the issues at hand, or more regularly voice my opinions. That way I might not unleash too much at once and save face.

I agree that that's a possbile solution Rob, and maybe that can be looked into. However, I still don't think that the funding for WOC next year needs to be compromised by World Cups. People keep saying that we should make the most of it, well I think that sorting all this out would be a good start to that. We never have control over how much the world cups cost for the NZ team, except when it's in NZ - the last time was 18 years ago. An entry to a world cup is essentially a product. And every product has a cost price, why couldn't have NZOF and the event organisers come to some kind of agreement on a subsidised entry for the NZ runers?

I didn't know about the $5000 including team gear, that is definitely good news to me (provided that I am selected in the team (provided my selection is endorsed by NZOF)).

I think it's important to have a coach and manager for the team too, and I am happy with the choice in Al and Jean. My meaning was that given the choice between having the $5000 go towards coach/manager or the money to go towards the entry fees, I think most would rather have that.

I can almost agree with you on your comment 'I reckon the NZOF key personel are the best we have ever had'. They give a lot for NZ orienteering, Simon included. I have criticised some aspects of the way Simon fulfills his role, but I will not try to take away from him what he has done for NZOF, nor am I asking him to relieve himself from his position. I would rather see that he have a think about how he views his role and treats people: I don't like it when what is released to the public is not the truth or has been warped for general approval - that's not full disclosure. I don't like it when people try to shift blame/accountability and make excuses to cover up their negligence. I don't like when people are abused unjustly, especially when they too are in voluntary positions. I don't like when people are called/emailed and threatened. I don't like when the face of NZ orienteering behaves innappropriately when representing NZ in a leadership role or otherwise whilst overseas. - This is but a small collection of what people that don't have to deal regularly with NZOF miss. I do not talk solely about my own personal experiences, a lot come from other peoples misfortune. You may call this rubbishing Rob, but sometimes dirty laundry needs to be aired before it can be cleaned.

I won't go into specifics, (unless people need it). I would rather see that some of these flaws are ironed out. Then people will get along a lot better, and actually sleep at night. I think the work and progress that we are seeing as a result of Simon and his team would then be amplified. We might finally get to a point where see less of these sorts of issues.

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