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European Blues Challenge 2015

European Blues Challenge 2015

UK Selection Process Timeline and Background

2015-EBC-poster
Following changes in the selection process for the UK’s representative at the European Blues Challenge which were imposed by the Board of the European Blues Union (EBU) in breach of the rules and regulations relating thereto, a letter has been sent to all Active Members of the EBU (as detailed on a list supplied by the EBU in April 2014 – the most recent list available) which seeks to make them aware of what has taken place and to enlist their support in calling the Board to account.

The full text of this letter can be seen here:

LettertoallActive24Feb15Final-GIF

Click image to read other pages (PDF file)

To ensure that all Active Members of the EBU have access to the full correspondence and are aware of the statements and allegations made by the Board, we have prepared below a timeline and background which we hope all Active Members will take the time to read. We also hope that this will help them understand our very great concerns and the pressing need to ensure that the Board stops acting in breach of and/or ignoring the Rules, Regulations, Guidelines and Statutes that are applicable to the European Blues Union.

Since the inception of the European Blues Challenge (EBC), Blues Matters!, a long established specialist magazine based in the UK but internationally recognised as the UK’s foremost such magazine – recipient of the 2007 Keeping the Blues Alive Award – Printed Media and Blues Hall of Fame inductee 2014 – has been the organisation that has operated the process to select and nominate the UK’s representative at the EBC. This process has involved the selection of a ‘Best UK Newcomer’ by a panel of people who are writers for and content contributors to Blues Matters! magazine and comprise a broad spectrum of people from the blues world including broadcasters, musicians, promoters, festival organisers, journalists and enthusiasts.

Blues Matters! has always been completely transparent as regards this process and has declared full details of same to the European Blues Union’s(EBU) Board, even going so far as to advise the Board when an attempt was made by an EBU Active Member to influence the selection panel. The actual voting process has involved each member of the ‘panel’ making three nominations in descending order and points are awarded to each nominee depending on their position in that order.

The act with the most points is the winner and, therefore, the nominee. If that act is unable to accept nomination, then the act with the next highest score is nominated.

This process is secret and virtually incorruptible.

This process has been accepted by the EBU Board for the last four years without any question and has, therefore, been considered by the Board to be fully compliant with the EBU’s applicable rules, regulations and procedures.

In March 2014, the UK’s country responsible who is also the Founder & Publisher of Blues Matters! became aware of some suggestion that the Board was considering changing the UK selection process. This situation was queried with the President via e-mail on 19th March 2014. On 28th March 2014, the President responded and stated, inter alia, ‘as far as moving the band selection from blues matters to the blues magazine is something we have to discuss and decide among the EBU board. nothing is written in stone yet‘

Nothing more was heard on this topic until the 22nd August 2014 when the UK country responsible was made aware by an Active Member of the EBU in the UK that the EBU’s Secretary, Jorden Wouters, had advised a prospective EBU Active Member from the UK that ‘Concerning the selection process for the EBC in the UK, I can confirm you that it runs through the poll organized by Ed Mitchell (The Blues Magazine), and no longer by Alan Pearce.’

This was the first indication received that a decision had been taken to change the selection process and it appeared that no-one had had the courtesy to discuss this with Alan Pearce, either in his position as the person running the process or as the country responsible who, under the EBU’s rules and regulations, is responsible for notification of the selected representative and for ‘policing’ the selection process.

Alan Pearce immediately sent an e-mail to the Secretary seeking an explanation/clarification of what was happening.

On 29th August 2014, the Editor of The Blues Magazine posted the following on the magazine’s Facebook page:

‘We’ll shortly be announcing the nominations for the contenders to ultimately hold the British end up in the 5th annual European Blues Union Challenge in Brussels next year.
Ten shortlisted artists will be put to a public vote via our social media. Yes, you choose the winner who will take on the might of the rest of Europe.

So, who would you like to represent the UK at this amazing event? There’s still time to put your favourite artist in the frame.

Post your suggestions here – or send me an email at: ed.mitchell@teamrock.com’

On 31st August 2014, because of his great concern over what appeared to be happening, UK Active Member, Ashwyn Smyth, sent a lengthy e-mail to The President, the Vice-President, the Secretary and the Treasurer with a copy to some members of the Board, demanding to know what was going on and expressing grave concerns that the Board appeared to be acting ‘most un-democratically and discourteously and in a manner which can only serve to damage the reputation of the EBU in the UK.’
This e-mail went on to draw to the Board’s attention their own rules and regulations as applicable to the EBC displayed on the EBU website and asked that the Board explain publicly ‘what is going on and why it seems they are acting in such a secretive and underhand manner and keeping their membership in the dark about important matters relating to the choice of national representatives at the EBC.’

Ashwyn’s full e-mail is reproduced here:

President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, Members of the EBU Board,
I am extremely disturbed and perturbed to discover that there appear to be two ‘parties’ who are saying that they will be nominating the UK representative for 2015’s EBC.

I am one of the people asked to participate in the selection process by Blues Matters!, the magazine that has done such a good job in putting forward excellent, rising acts to represent the UK for the last four years.

The other party is the Blues Magazine whose editor, Ed Mitchell, has posted on Facebook as follows:
‘’We’ll shortly be announcing the nominations for the contenders to ultimately hold the British end up in the 5th annual European Blues Union Challenge in Brussels next year.

Ten shortlisted artists will be put to a public vote via our social media. Yes, you choose the winner who will take on the might of the rest of Europe. 

So, who would you like to represent the UK at this amazing event? There’s still time to put your favourite artist in the frame.

Post your suggestions here – or send me an email at: ed.mitchell@teamrock.com

’’

Now there is clearly some sort of misunderstanding here. As far as I am aware the management of Blues Matters! has not been made aware of any decision taken by the EBU Board to strip them of the nomination rights and so it would seem that the Blues Magazine is erroneously suggesting that it now has the nomination rights and should be instructed by the Board to desist immediately.

However, if the Board has made a decision to change the nomination procedure without having the courtesy of notifying BM! and giving its justifications for making such a change, then it has acted most un-democratically and discourteously and in a manner which can only serve to damage the reputation of the EBU in the UK.

The EBC rules, as currently displayed on the EBU website – www.europeanbluesunion.com/ebc-rules/ clearly state that ‘There is a contact person in each country, called “country responsible”, who’s responsible for announcing to the President of the EBU and to the EBU Board if his/her country will participate at the next EBC.’

Ever since the EBU was founded, I understand that this person has been Alan Pearce of Blues Matters! There has not, as far as I am aware, been any announcement made or notification given by the EBU Board that the ‘country responsible’ person for the UK has changed.

The rules also set out the criteria applying to the selection procedure and the existing selection process currently in place clearly meets these criteria and has been accepted by the EBU for the last four years.

I feel, therefore, that the Board of the EBU must come out into the open and explain publicly just what is going on and why it seems they are acting in such a secretive and underhand manner and keeping their membership in the dark about important matters relating to the choice of national representatives at the EBC.

I am left questioning whether I want to be part of an organisation that appears to act in such a manner and whether I should continue to support it and work to try to raise its profile.
It seems that, even though I am an Active Member of the EBU who is part of a group trying to raise the profile of the EBU and the EBC in the UK and actively involved in supporting and promoting both the EBU and the EBC – in the face of apparent apathy/lack of interest on the part of some of the other active members of the EBU in the UK – the Board is making decisions which could adversely affect that and, indeed, undo much of the work done, by disaffecting existing members and supporters and putting off prospective members and supporters .

Frankly, this debacle must put in question the UK’s participation in the EBC which would be a crying shame as there would appear to be the probability of two acts being nominated.
I look forward to receiving your early advices and explanation.

On 1st September 2014, the President responded to Ashwyn as follows:

‘we have tranfered the selection process for the Uk act to perfrom at the EBC from blues matters to classic rock presents blues.
blues matters used to be the selecting organisation – but as of this year for 2015 it changed to ed mitchel – who is our new country rep – and his magazine. i have discussed this with alain from blues matters over email and alain was indeed not so happy.

but we feel this is the right move – ed has shown a strong presence at the EBC in the past 2 years and has servede as a judge and offers new perspectives and more visabily for the EBU in the uk. since his involvment, our Uk membership has increased.‘

On the same day Ashwyn Smyth responded to the President, copying in all those to whom his original e-mail had been addressed, and expressed his deep shock at ‘the cavalier action of the EBU Board‘.
He then went on to point out that the EBU’s Country Responsible Guidelines did not give the Board the authority to appoint a country responsible, rather that this person could only be appointed ‘by the majority of the EBU members of the given country.‘

Ashwyn also drew attention to the President’s statement relating to Ed Mitchell and Classic Rock Blues that ‘since his involvement, our Uk membership has increased‘, and that this completely ignored ‘the fact that over the same period three other UK Active Members of the EBU (including me) together with a small team of volunteers (which includes three of the top six independent UK blues broadcasters) have been working hard via our UK and international radio shows, social media, the UK pages of the EBU website, Blues in Britain magazine, Blues Matters and other channels to raise the profile of and interest in the EBU in the UK so it is wrong and, frankly, insulting to attribute the increase in UK membership solely to the Blues Magazine‘.

(Note: we cannot comment as to how much of an increase in UK Active Membership there has been as, to date, the most recent membership list made available is dated April 2014)

It was further pointed out that the President was only too aware of this given that he ‘kindly agreed to do an interview about the EBU‘ with Ashwyn for Blues Matters which was published in the August/September 2013 edition of the magazine (although it was erroneously credited to Dave Ward).

Ashwyn also pointed out that the President’s assertion that he had ‘discussed this with alain from blues matters over email‘ was intriguing given that he had been advised by Alan Pearce that he had heard nothing at all from any representative of the EBU Board!

Here is the full text of Ashwyn’s e-mail of 1st September 2014 to the Board

Hi Tom,

Thank you for your prompt reply.

I must confess myself deeply shocked by the cavalier action of the EBU Board. It would appear that the other UK active members were not deemed of sufficient import to even be notified of such a fundamental change, let alone consulted about it, which displays an unpleasant arrogance on the part of the EBU Board.

Your Country Responsible Guidelines as displayed on the EBU website clearly state: ‘Each country represented in the EBU will be entitled to select a contact person or a country responsible (physical person), belonging to the EBU and appointed by the majority of the EBU members of the given country.‘ This has not, I believe, happened in this case. You have clearly stated that you have appointed Ed Mitchell as the UK country rep. Therefore the Board of the EBU are in breach of the guidelines which you yourselves laid down. I would welcome your explanation and justification of this action. Are the guidlines only there as long as they suit you but to be ignored if they don’t!

The same Guidelines state that: ‘It would also be fair if all EBU active members of that country could work together for the EBC selection.‘ I agree wholeheartedly but it does not seem that this going to be the case under the proposed selection process put forward by the Blues Magazine.

You say of Ed Mitchell and Classic Rock Blues that ‘since his involvment, our Uk membership has increased‘, completely ignoring the fact that over the same period three other UK Active Members of the EBU (including me) together with a small team of volunteers (which includes three of the top six independent UK blues broadcasters) have been working hard via our UK and international radio shows, social media, the UK pages of the EBU website, Blues in Britain magazine, Blues Matters and other channels to raise the profile of and interest in the EBU in the UK so it is wrong and, frankly, insulting to attribute the increase in UK membership solely to the Blues Magazine.

You, indeed, are aware of some of the work we have done in that you kindly agreed to do an interview about the EBU with me for Blues Matters which was published in the August/September 2013 edition of the magazine (although it was erroniously credited to Dave Ward).

You also note that Ed Mitchell served as a judge at the EBC in Toulouse. I cannot see the relevance of this given that, as far as I am aware, he was not shown as an Active Member at the time he was a judge and there are a number of other Active Members in the UK who would be more than happy to act as a judge at the EBC if they were invited to do so.

It is worthwhile noting that since the beginning of this year, Ed Mitchell has been promising to let me have some content for the UK pages of the EBU website publicising his magazine but, to date and despite a number of requests, I have heard nothing from him. This hardly demonstrates a committment to the EBU or perhaps he feels that the EBU website is a waste of time?

Whilst the system for choosing acts to represent the UK at the EBC which has been in place for the last four years was not universally popular (chiefly because people simply did not understand how it worked, something which I and others have been working hard to rectify) it was a system incapable of being hijacked by PR teams, record companies, other media etc.

The system which I understand is being proposed by the Blues Magazine (according to a Facebook post I have seen), voting via social media, is wide open to manipulation and being fixed whilst the choice of the 10 or so acts who will be the nominees would appear to be primarily down to Ed Mitchell. I have to question whether this meets the criteria set out in the EBU’s rules in this respect.

It seems to me that whilst the EBU is happy to take money from those who wish to be Active Members, it is not willing to involve those Active Members in more than a fringe manner and certainly is happy to ignore them in fundamental matters such as the appointment of a ‘country rep‘ (did the Board consider for one moment that there might be others in the UK who would have been interested in taking on such a position?) People who have no commercial axe to grind!

I am intrigued to read your comment that  i have discussed this with alain from blues matters over email as he advises me that he has heard nothing at all from you!

Perhaps you would like to comment on that?

It also seems a pretty churlish and discourteous way of dumping someone who has been the UK country rep for more than four years. The very least you could have done is spoken to him by telephone or SKYPE.

I should hasten to add that I am not against Ed Mitchell’s involvement in principle. As an Active Member (which I believe he now is) he has the same rights as any other Active Member. But it would seem that he actually has been given rights at the expense of the rights of other Active Members and now even has rights which we other Active Members do not have!

As an Active Member of the EBU and someone who has spent many hours seeking to raise the profile of the EBU and further its work, I find the Board’s actions reprehensible and am left wondering whether the EBU is truly an organisation that warrants such support if it is going to act in such a discourteous and inconsiderate way. Surely as Active Members we should all have equal rights and consideration and deals should not be done behind closed doors which see one Active Member dumped without even being notified and a new Country rep being appointed by the Board in total breach of the EBU’s guidlines?

I look forward to a full explanation of these apparent irregularities and actions.

The UK selection process operated by Blues Matters! was already under way and, in the absence of any formal notification regarding any change to the status quo, on 5th September 2014, Alan Pearce notified the EBU Board officials, by e-mail and strictly in accordance with the applicable rules, regulations and guidelines, who had been voted for and selected as the UK’s representatives at EBC 2015 – Red Butler.

His e-mail also drew attention to the fact that there appeared to be Board members who were unaware of the changes which the President had suggested to Ashwyn Smyth had taken place and he called ‘upon those members of the Board of the EBU who are responsible for this unacceptable situation to abide by their own rules and to consider whether they can justify continuing to serve as Board Members given both their discourteous actions and their apparent failure to make decisions in accordance with the EBU’s own rules and guidelines.’

On 10th September 2014, Alan Pearce received an e-mail from the President which enclosed an unsigned ‘Note of Rejection’ of the UK’s nomination for EBC 2015, dated 8th September 2014 and ostensibly from the Board and demanded that ‘all PR on the internet in regards to BM selecting the Uk act for the EBC 2015‘ be withdrawn.

Letter to Alan Pearce from EBU President – 8 September 2014
EBC_letter_Blues Matters 8 Sep14 WEB

Alan Pearce responded to this e-mail on 11th September pointing out that for four years the same selection process had been used and had never ‘commented or questioned but been pleased with our efforts and the results. You accepted our method in the first place when asking us to be the responsible person for the UK, so why find fault now?

In fact from your own rules and regulations there is no fault here on our part. We shall act according to your own rules and regulations which regrettably you do not appear to have done.’

On the same day, there followed several ‘personal’ e-mail from Thomas Ruf to Alan Pearce and in one, Thomas Ruf stated ‘we had a board vote over the issue. a majority has supported my cause of making a change in the UK. so i continued to proceed.’ An interesting statement in the light of the fact that the President had to raise this whole matter at the Board meeting in Italy on 11/12 October to seek authorisation/confirmation of the actions taken and proposed. If, indeed, the Board had already voted in support of what this, a vote in Italy would have been unnecessary! We believe that a significant number of members of the Board had no idea about what the President and, possibly, a small number of Board members had been doing and it would seem that the suggestion that a board vote had already been held was not correct.

Thomas Ruf continued ‘there needs a to be a proper challange organised after a pre-selection process’, apparently seeking, unilaterally, to impose a change in the applicable rules in this respect set out on the EBU’s website.

Thomas Ruf also asked to telephone Alan Pearce over that weekend ‘to resolve the situation’, an offer which Alan had to decline ‘due to proof reading and publication deadlines’ He did, however, offer to be available on 15th September to talk on the phone, an offer which Thomas Ruf did not choose to take up.

On 17th September, the management of Red Butler, the band that had won the EBC nomination in accordance with what was, at the time, the agreed and accepted process organised by Blues Matters!, received an e-mail from the Editor of the Blues Magazine stating ‘The Blues magazine has been given the honour of selecting the entrant for The European Blues Union’s Blues Challenge in Brussels next year. Our readers have selected Red Butler as one of the ten nominees.’

It continued ‘We will be running a public vote – the top three bands will go head to head and an eventual winner sent to Brussels for the challenge.’ The band was asked to confirm that they wanted to be included by return ‘as we’re on deadline today’. This e-mail was forwarded to Blues Matters! by Red Butler’s management seeking clarification.

The same day (17th September), Alan Pearce, in his capacity both as UK country responsible, an Active Member of the EBU and as the Publisher & Founder of Blues Matters!, sent a letter, via e-mail, also signed by UK Active Members Ashwyn Smyth & Dave Raven, to all EBU Board Members and officials drawing to their attention that the actions of certain members of EBU Board were and continued to be not ‘in accordance with the EBU’s own rules, procedures and guidelines’. The letter detailed specifically those rules etc. which had been ignored and/or breached and called upon the Board to reverse the decisions improperly made and to confirm the status quo.

Letter from Alan Pearce to EBU Board Members – 17 September 2014

European Blues Challenge 17 September 2014 1

Click to view pages 2 and 3

Later that day, Thomas Ruf responded to Alan Pearce advising:

“we made our desicion.
i talked to ed and he is happy to include red butler in the battle of the bands they are preparing.
he puts a story in his magazine, – presenting all selected bands – i can ask him to tag red butler as the band BM selected and  contributes to the entire Uk selection process. the actual battle of the bands will take place this november.
let me know if this is a compromise you could live with”
Note: As we have never actually seen what the Blues Magazine published in this respect, we are unaware whether any mention of Blues Matters! involvement was made. If it was not then this is another example of the President failing to keep his promises.

On 18th September, Ashwyn Smyth, at the request and on behalf of Alan Pearce, who was having computer problems, responded to Thomas Ruf’s e-mail, with a copy to all Board members, advising that:

“Your suggestion is not a compromise, it is a total capitulation on my part & that of Blues Matters! and the other signatories to the letter sent earlier today. It is also a flagrant breach of the European Blues Union’s own rules and regulations which you seem intent on ignoring because they do not suit your purpose.

The European Blues Union’s rules for the European Blues Challenge (EBC) –http://www.europeanbluesunion.com/ebc-rules/ – do not confer upon the President or the Board the right to nominate or dictate who shall select the national representative for the EBC.”

The e-mail also advised the President and Board that ‘You have acted beyond the powers you have in this respect and it is time that you, and the Board, realised and accepted this.’

Here is the complete text of the e-mail sent 16.34 – 18.9.2014 to all Board Members

Please find below the text of an e-mail which Alan Pearce wishes to send in response to The President’s e-mail of yesterday (17th September – 18.20).

As you will see Alan has computer problems at present and it is for that reason he has asked that I forward his e-mail to you on his behalf.
Thank you.
A bientôt
ASHWYN SMYTH

From: Alan 
Subject: RE: EBU desicion – RE-DIRECTED AT ALAN’S REQUEST

I am having pc issues and do not have access to the other board members mails so could include them in this and may I ask YOU FORWARD ON MY BEHALF
Cheers Alan – in the spirit of the Blues!

Thomas,

Your suggestion is not a compromise, it is a total capitulation on my part & that of Blues Matters! and the other signatories to the letter sent earlier today. It is also a flagrant breach of the European Blues Union’s own rules and regulations which you seem intent on ignoring because they do not suit your purpose.

The European Blues Union’s rules for the European Blues Challenge (EBC) – http://www.europeanbluesunion.com/ebc-rules/ – do not confer upon the President or the Board the right to nominate or dictate who shall select the national representative for the EBC.
To save you having to go onto the website to read what is said, I set out below, in full, the section headed ‘Country selection of the bands participating at the EBC’.

Country selection of the bands participating at the EBC
Each country will be required to select their representatives by an association or a corporate organization that involves collaboration of blues enthusiasts, festival organizers, mass media and blues musicians of this country, or by a magazine specializing in blues, or by a festival or association that has organized a previous challenge, or by other media (radio, TV,…).
The method of the election of the musicians shall be objective, transparent and retraceable. The selection process needs to be communicated to the President and the Board of the EBU simultaneously with the notification mentioned under article 3a of these regulations.
The Board shall be entitled to make an inquiry on the national selection process.

You state in your e-mail ‘we made our decision’. I repeat, it is not a decision that you or the Board are empowered or authorised by your own regulations/rules to make.

As I have already set out, very clearly and at some length, in my earlier e-mail to the whole of the Board, I have, in my capacity as the ‘country responsible’, notified you as the President and also the Board, strictly in accordance with the requirements of the applicable EBC Regulations – Section 3a. and b. – both that UK will be participating in the 2015 EBC and that Red Butler are the band who have been selected using the process of selection which has been used for the past four years and which has been accepted by the Board of the European Blues Union as meeting the criteria set out in the applicable section of the Regulations as repeated above.

Your attempt to award the right to operate the selection/nomination process to the Blues Magazine is in breach of the EBU’s own regulations and is totally invalid given that you do not have the power to make such a decision.

You have acted beyond the powers you have in this respect and it is time that you, and the Board, realised and accepted this.

You also need to advise the Blues Magazine that they do not have the right to seek to nominate the party to represent the UK at the 2015 EBC and that you were in error suggesting to them that they had any such right.

If they proceed with the article and the ‘battle’ as they suggest, they will only be falsely raising the hopes of the bands and musicians who may participate given that any selection made cannot stand as it will not be valid.

You should make this clear to the management of the Blues Magazine so as to avoid them being faced with a situation where they, and their readers, think they are nominating the UK’s EBC 2015 representative because you have told them that they can, something which you do not have the power to do!

As a final note, the editor of the Blues Magazine has already told Red Butler that they are one of the Blues magazine’s ‘nominees’ so it is not a case of the editor being ‘happy to include Red Butler’, suggesting that he is doing Blues Matters! and Red Butler a favour.

Please Thomas, stop playing games and recognise that you, and possibly the Board, have acted beyond your remit and authorisation and that you have ignored the regulations put in place by the EBU and its Board. This is something which you/the Board cannot do and certainly cannot expect to get away with.
Alan Pearce
Founder/Publisher

Thomas Ruf responded a few hours later and advised ‘EBU event and membership is being  managed by the board and its committees.‘

He again stated ‘on the Uk issue the board conducted a vote. the result might not be to everyones liking but its a result and we moved forward.‘ Once more, this begs the question that if the Board had already voted on this matter, why was discussion of this issue and a further vote thereon required at the Board Meeting in Verona in October?

Thomas then referred to the e-mail mentioned above dated 28th March 2014 and stated ‘you have at the point of my notification not replied or acted against it.‘

There was nothing to reply to as in that e-mail, Thomas Ruf’s quite clearly stated ‘nothing is written in stone yet‘. In the absence of any advices to the contrary, there was no reason to suppose any changes had been agreed upon and so there was nothing that warranted response or action.

Thomas Ruf’s next comment was arrogant, rude, ill-informed and not far off libellous. He said ‘so i am not quite sure why  now you are trying to create this drama when for month you have not given the EBC/EBU  any attention and we did not hear from you.‘
[Full text of TR e-mail sent 21.23 – 18.9.2014]

alan,
EBU event and membership is being  managed by the board and its committees.
on the Uk issue the board conducted a vote. the result might not be to everyones liking but its a result and we moved forward.
i spoke to ed and asked him to include your selected act -red butler  -in the poll , which he did.
the 3 acts with the highest scores will perform  in a band competition in november which pete feenstra will promote.
a real competition is what we are aiming for to built  in every country.
lets talk about how blues matters can be a co-presenter  of the UK blues challange in the future and be involved.
i have  spoken to you  about a possible change of selection  in the Uk earlier this year  and have  notified you on march 28 via email that we might change to ed mitchel. during the EBC in riga in april matters have been disucssed with ed mitchel and details worked out.
you have at the point of my notification not replied or acted against it.
so i am not quite sure why  now you are trying to create this drama when for month you have not given the EBC/EBU  any attention and we did not hear from you.
my best wishes
thank you
thomas
president EBU

Whilst it is invidious and insulting that the President of the EBU should put the UK country responsible in the position of having to account for and justify his actions in connection with and/or on behalf of the EBU, for the record this is a summary of what Blues Matters! and Alan Pearce have done for and in connection with the EBU/EBC during the previous 18 months or so:

In the last twelve months, we have twice run the selection process, in accordance with the EBC rules, of the UK’s representative at the European Challenge, notified the Board of the winners and supplied all associated information etc.

We have also worked to assist the UK’s representative in connection with their participation at the EBC 2014 in Riga, as we have to the previous year’s representatives from the UK and had intended to do for Red Butler in 2015.

Working with a small team, including two other UK Active Members of the EBU, we have sought to populate the UK pages of the EBU‘s website as well as supplying relevant news items for inclusion on the main News page of the EBU’s website.

In this connection we have invited ALL UK Active Members of the EBU to let us have information about their activities, a copy of their logo etc. for inclusion on the UK pages of the EBU website as is their right as Active Members. Despite having been asked on a number of occasions and having promised to supply same, several Active Members, including the Blues Magazine, have not responded to our requests and have not supplied any content for us to publish.

In the last 14 months or so alone, Blues Matters! has published the following items promoting and supporting the EBU/EBC:

  • Blues Matters! Issue 72 – June/July 2013 – a four page review of the 2013 EBC in Toulouse.
  • Blues Matters! Issue 73 – August/September 2013 – Interview with Thomas Ruf in his capacity as President of the EBU
  • Blues Matters! Issue 76 – February/March 2014 – Two page preview of the 2014 EBC in Riga
  • Blues Matters! Issue 80 – October/November 2014 – Review of EBC2014 (would have been included earlier but was received too late for Issue 79)

This is, of course, in addition to all that we do supporting and encouraging the Blues in the UK and around the World.

On 19th September 2014, at the specific request of Alan Pearce, Ashwyn Smyth sent a response to the President’s e-mail, copied to all Board Members, the full text of which is as follows:

“It is interesting that, yet again, you fail to respond to the fact that you, and the Board, are acting in a manner which is in breach of your own rules and taking on greater powers than you actually have under the various EBU/EBC rules & regulations. Therefore, the Board decision to which you refer is invalid and is one that you have no right to make.
It does not matter how many times you ignore this, you cannot alter the facts, nor can you alter what those rules/regulations say’
I am not denying that the Board is responsible for EBU ‘event management’ but it is NOT responsible for the selection process in each country for the EBC nor does it have the right to ‘appoint’ who shall operate that process.
You state in your e-mail that ‘a real competition is what we are aiming for to built in every country‘.  Then you should change the rules for selection set out in the EBC Regulations to reflect exactly what is required as for the past four years the selection process used by the UK has been accepted by the Board as compliant and meeting the requirements of the applicable regulations which have not, themselves, been changed.
You refer to your e-mail of 28th March 2014 and the fact that in this e-mail you suggested that you might be seeking to change the process of selection in the UK and I would remind you of the words you used in that e-mail:
‘as far as moving the band selection from blues matters to the blues magazin is something we have to discuss and decide among the EBU board.
nothing is written in stone yet.‘
That was the last I heard from you about it and may I point out that your e-mail was in response to one which I sent you on 19th March 2014 asking  you to clarify what was going on as I had been made aware by a fellow UK Active Member that there appeared to be moves afoot to make changes to the EBC selection process in the UK about which I knew nothing either as UK ‘country responsible‘ or as the ‘promoter/facilitator‘ of the existing UK selection process.
The next I heard from you on this topic was the letter, purportedly from the Board, dated 8th September 2014. (This was the letter rejecting the UK’s nomination of Red Butler)
The final paragraph of your e-mail is, as you are very well aware, totally untrue and insulting and not worthy of someone who is President of a  group that professes to support and promote the Blues in Europe.”

On the same day, Ashwyn Smyth sent a follow-up e-mail to the President, again copied to some Board Members, expressing regret that he had still received no response to his e-mail dated 1st September (see above).

On 22nd September 2014 Thomas Ruf responded to Ashwyn’s e-mail thus:

ashwyn,
i really am not sure what to answer. i am volunteering for the EBU and putting in numerous hours to grow this organisation.
reading this long emails and discussions going on is really exhosting…the  board desicion of the change stands – and yes i agree i should have spent more time and attention to alain and handled the change better. its a downside that i am all over the place and simply too busy all the time… and so  sometimes handle matters not carefully and properly enough….
anyway – i do not wish to make enemies and i certainly feel grateful towards alain and yourself.
and i really hope we find ways to work together in this and have blues matters co-present the Uk blues challange in the future.
Respectfully
tom

Again, he states ‘the  board desicion of  the change stands’, specific reference being made to a board decision which if it had been taken already, would have rendered unnecessary the board decision taken at the Board meeting in Verona in October.

Having received no response to his e-mail dated 19th September, Alan Pearce sent the following letter to all Board Members on 25th September 2014:

European Blues Challenge 25 September 2014 1

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On or around 30th September, The Blues Magazine and its parent, Classic Rock Magazine, posted on Facebook announcing that it ‘had been charged with the honour of finding the UK entrant for the fifth annual European Blues Challenge‘.

EBU facebook post

Of particular interest is the Blues Magazine’s response to the suggestions that Red Butler had already been nominated as the UK’s representatives.

On 1st October 2014, Thomas Ruf sent the following e-mail to Alan Pearce & Ashwyn Smyth:

Ashwyn,Alan
The EBU board has taken notice of the comments made on behalf of Blues Matters.
Taking into account that the board will gather on October 10th and 11th in Italy we would like to invite you to await the board’s position.
Thank you in advance.
Kind regards,
Tom  for the EBU board

On 2nd October the following response was sent to Thomas Ruf, copied in to all other Board members:

Dear Thomas,
Your e-mail of 1st October 2014 refers.

You seem to be suggesting that you want us to stop disputing the nomination process for the UK’s representative at the 2015 EBC being run by the Blues Magazine and suggest that this matter will be decided at your forthcoming Board meeting on 10th/11th October.

You are still ignoring the fact that the Board does not have the power under the European Blues Union’s existing rules, regulations and guidelines, which were drafted and set in place by the Board of the European Blues Union, to appoint or nominate the party(ies) within an individual member country who shall run the nomination process.

It could be argued that you are suggesting that no Board decision has actually been made in respect of the ‘appointment’ by the Board of the Blues Magazine. This being the case, even if we were to accept that the Board is empowered to make such a decision, which we do not, the fact that the Blues Magazine is currently running a process which, they suggest, will lead to the nomination of the UK’s representative at the EBC 2015 must be seen as unofficial and unsanctioned by the European Blues Union and, accordingly, the Board of the EBU must instruct the Blues Magazine to cease and desist immediately.

If this is done, and the Blues Magazine suspends it’s process immediately, we will, for our part, cease posting any messages on social media or websites regarding the selection process until after the Board meeting on 10th/11th October 2014.
We look forward to receiving your early confirmation that this has been implemented.

Regards

ASHWYN SMYTH – ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE EBU
ALAN PEARCE – UK COUNTRY RESPONSIBLE AND ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE EBU

The announcement by the Blues Magazine led to a flurry of queries being raised by various bands, magazines, blues fans etc all asking for clarification given the announcement by Blues Matters! in September of Red Butler as the UK representative at the EBC 2015 and to try to answer these queries and to make people aware of the situation, on 3rd October 2014, the following was posted to Facebook, Twitter, on various websites and copied to all Board Members and various media.

EUROPEAN BLUES CHALLENGE 2015

Many people have asked why The Blues Magazine is currently running a campaign to select the UK’s representative at the 2015 European Blues Challenge when Blues Matters! has already announced Red Butler as the UK’s nominee.

Unfortunately, some European Blues Union Board Members, ignoring totally the EBU’s own rules and statutes, have initiated a campaign with The Blues Magazine to run a selection process in UK that is completely ‘illegal’.

The selection process run by Blues Matters! has been accepted by the EBU in the past as fully complying with the EBC regulations.

The UK’s country responsible and a number of UK Active Members of the EBU have pointed out to the EBU Board that they have taken actions/made decisions which they are not authorised to do by virtue of the EBU’s own rules and that they are ignoring the EBU’s own procedures which are in place to deal with a situation where two parties from the same country seek to nominate.

The Board has also been asked to require the immediate suspension of the campaign which The Blues Magazine is currently running, at least until after a forthcoming meeting of the Board when, it is hoped, the Board will realise that it has acted improperly and withdraw the mandate given to The Blues Magazine immediately.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the Board has failed to respond to this request leaving the country responsible and the concerned UK Active Members of the EBU no option but to seek to explain the unfortunate situation that exists at present.

In the absence of any further advices from the Board, on 15th October 2014 the following e-mail was sent to all Board members:

Tom,

On 1st October 2014 you advised that there was to be a Board meeting on 10th/11th October 2014 and invited us ‘to await the board’s position’ after this meeting.

It is now the 15th October and we have heard nothing further from you which is both highly disrespectful and certainly not very helpful given the gravity of the current situation and the confusion which exists relating to the nomination of the UK’s EBC 2015 representatives.

Are we to receive a full and proper response from the Board or are you planning to just ignore us in the hope we will go away – which we will not!

We look forward to receiving a very early response from the Board.
Regards

ALAN PEARCE – UK COUNTRY RESPONSIBLE – EBU
ASHWYN SMYTH – UK ACTIVE MEMBER – EBU

On 17th October 2014, the Board issued the following ‘announcement’ to all Active Members;

Dear EBU members,

Last Saturday, October 11th, the full EBU board gathered in Verona – Italy. The conflicting selection processes in order to appoint the UK participant at the next EBC was one of the items on the agenda.
As from the start of the EBC, the EBU promoted the idea to organize national selections in an objective, transparent and retraceable manner involving all members of the EBU and/or the blues community in the given country, in collaboration, on a fair basis. Of course, a live challenge would match these principles the most.

In order to resolve the conflicting and/or inadequate selection processes launched in the UK, the EBU board has proposed to organize a live challenge between the bands or artists selected by Blues Magazine, completed with the band selected by Blues Matters, to be organized by a neutral third party and judged by a team of experts. The EBU offers to help in this matter by facilitating the organization of the event and to send a delegation.

In order to allow the organization of this challenge, the EBU board is prepared to extend exceptionally the notification period for the UK to December 12th instead of November 15th.
We wanted to inform the EBU members about this.

The EBU board

It is very clear from this that this would appear to be the first and only time that the Board had discussed this matter and taken a decision in respect thereof. Therefore, the assertions by the President in his e-mail of 11th September that ‘‘we had a board vote over the issue. a majority has supported my cause of making a change in the UK’ and in his e-mail of 18th September 2014 that ‘on the UK issue the board conducted a vote‘ would appear to be incorrect.

It is interesting to note that at no time have the President or the Board responded to the examples quoted by us of them acting in breach of or simply ignoring the rules, regulations and guidelines which they themselves drafted and put in place. One has to ask why this is and it is not unreasonable to conclude that they have not responded or sought to defend or justify their actions because they know that they indefensible and unjustifiable. And yet they have continued to pursue this course and, along the way

On 18th October 2014, acting in a personal capacity simply as a concerned Active Member of the EBU, Ashwyn Smyth sent the following e-mail to the Board:

Dear EBU Board Members
I am deeply saddened to receive the ‘Announcement’ dated 17th October 2014.

It seems that the Board is hell-bent on continuing to follow a course of action which is blatantly in breach of the existing rules and regulations of the EBU as laid down by the Board and agreed by the General Assembly. Not only that, but the Board is now bending the rules to assist the party they have ‘nominated’ as well as ‘facilitating’ that party to complete the process.

I do not intend to repeat the instances of the Board’s breaching and ignoring of the relevant rules and regulations but I am saddened that the whole Board is now complicit to these and, given that they took their decision in full knowledge of what these said, they are as guilty as those who started this whole fiasco and one has to question their fitness to run the European Blues Union.
They also seem to be condoning lies which have been told which again makes them as guilty as those who originally uttered them.
I am also disgusted that, after the lengthy correspondence between me/the UK country responsible and the Board, you did not have the common courtesy to respond directly to us but rather included us in a ‘round robin’ announcement to all Active Members who, of course, are not in possession of the actual facts of this matter.
Finally I am saddened and disgusted that again you have sought to cast aspersions on the selection process in the UK as operated by Blues Matters! implying that it was ‘inadequate’, a statement which is unjust and unsupportable, particularly when you have accepted that process and approved it as being adequate for the last four years.
One is left wondering just what else is going on around this matter as it is very clear that these actions mask something much deeper and more fundamental.
You should know that by your actions you could well see the number of UK Active Members of the EBU reduce significantly in the near future as well as a number of prospective new members deciding not to apply for membership, something of which you should not be proud.

Following the ‘announcement’ from the Board. Alan Pearce issued the following for publication on social media, print media, websites etc.:

“From the Founder/Publisher of Blues Matters!, the UK Country Responsible of the European Blues Union and various Active Members of the European Blues Union in the UK:
On Friday 17th October the Board of the European Blues Union (EBU) made the following Announcement:
Dear EBU members,
Last Saturday, October 11th, the full EBU board gathered in Verona – Italy. The conflicting selection processes in order to appoint the UK participant at the next EBC was one of the items on the agenda.
As from the start of the EBC, the EBU promoted the idea to organize national selections in an objective, transparent and retraceable manner involving all members of the EBU and/or the blues community in the given country, in collaboration, on a fair basis. Of course, a live challenge would match these principles the most.
In order to resolve the conflicting and/or inadequate selection processes launched in the UK, the EBU board has proposed to organize a live challenge between the bands or artists selected by Blues Magazine, completed with the band selected by Blues Matters, to be organized by a neutral third party and judged by a team of experts. The EBU offers to help in this matter by facilitating the organization of the event and to send a delegation.
In order to allow the organization of this challenge, the EBU board is prepared to extend exceptionally the notification period for the UK to December 12th instead of November 15th.
We wanted to inform the EBU members about this.
The EBU board

In the interests solely of the 10 acts who have been ‘nominated’ and have, innocently, been caught up in the machinations of the Board of the EBU in this matter, Blues Matters! will, for this year only, unwillingly and with very many serious reservations, accept this situation.

But in doing so, Blues Matters! together with various concerned Active Members of the EBU in the UK wish, yet again, to make it clear that these actions by the Board of the EBU are totally in breach of the rules & regulations in this respect laid down by the Board of the EBU and agreed by all Active Members of the EBU. The Board of the EBU have, by their vote, further condoned the breaking/ignoring of these rules and have further acted in a prejudicial and biased manner by changing certain rules in favour of their ‘nominee’, the Blues Magazine and even offering to ‘facilitate the organisation’ of the proposed selection event.

Finally the suggestion that selection process operated by Blues Matters! was ‘inadequate’ is laughable and vexatious given that the Board of the EBU has accepted this process, without question, as adequate and compliant for the last four years.

On 20th October 2014, Alan Pearce received the following letter from Jorden Wouters, Secretary of the EBU.

EBC 2015 UK selection 17 Oct 14 1

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On 21st October 2014, Alan Pearce responded to the EBU Board as follows:

European Blues Challenge 2015 21 October 2015 1

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There followed an exchange of e-mails which is reproduced in full below (note e-mail addresses have been deleted):

On 24 Oct 2014, at 17:38, Thomas Ruf wrote:

alan,
all we want to know from you is to know  if you want  to take our offer to add your band to the uk challange that will take place december 11 at the boom boom club in suttor or not.
please give us your desicion by monday (deadline) , as promoter pete feenstra will need to make the show public next week.
thank you

the EBU board.

On 24 Oct 2014, at 20:37, Alan wrote:

RE: EBU RESPONSE

Board
I already answered YES to that on Monday to the secretary who had mailed me
Alan

Sent from my iPhone

On 27 October 2014 at 10:17, Thomas Ruf wrote:

RE: EBU RESPONSE

thank you for clearifying
are you planning to attend the event ?
best
tom

On 27 October at 13:27, Alan wrote:

RE: EBU RESPONSE

Tom,

Being clear is what we strive for, our pleasure.

Sadly my health will not permit me to be present personally as I dearly would love to be there and know the Boom Boom Club and Pete.

I am awaiting confirmation from our representative that they can and will attend to be a part of the independent panel and as I advised Jordan will let you know as soon as it is confirmed. Our representative will only be concerned with the acts on the night and not be concerned about what we have been in disagreement about.

By the way that is a fine double album you have brought out and has a good review in our next issue.
I do hope that, like me, you separate what is going on with the EBU from our relationship as magazine/label and realise that we are far reaching and realise that do benefit our clients.

I do hope that, like me, you separate what is going on with the EBU from our relationship as magazine/label and realise that we are far reaching and realise that do benefit our clients.

Alan Pearce
Founder/Publisher

On 27 October 2014 at 12:26, Thomas Ruf wrote:

RE: EBU RESPONSE

your representative will not by ashwyn, correct ?

i am trying to keep the 2 things seperate . but with the way this went down i am having a hard time to do so
thank you
tom

On 30 October 2014 at 14:15, Alan wrote:

RE: EBU RESPONSE

Tom

I did ask Jordan how we would be informed who the other panellists are going to be when I conformed on Red Butler.
I have had no reply from him nor acknowledgement of my reply to him!!!! – hence you mailed me……….

Maybe you can jog someone to keep us posted? This is pretty imperative.
Our representative has confirmed to me today his attendance.

Let me know about the others please.

Alan Pearce
Founder/Publisher

On 30 october 2014 at 16:26, Thomas Ruf wrote:

RE: EBU RESPONSE

hi alan,
who is your representative ?
jorden assembled the jury info – who does BM suggest for jury ?
or do you mean BAND s when you write panellists ?
my best
thanks
tom

On 31 October 2014, Alan wrote:

Tom
Thought maybe I had better send you the mail that went to Jordan and to date had no response;

Mon 20/10/2014 13:31
Hi Jordan
Thank you for this communication.
As much as we actually hate being a thorn in the side of the organisation (we thought to be honourable) what we have done had to be done for the sake of the music and the artists.
What has happened is still wrong, downright rude, contrived, and is beyond your own first set of deadlines for the nomination of submissions.
What has happened is that you have now ‘made the shoe fit’ like the ugly sisters tried to do in the pantomime Cinderella even though you have passed the original deadlines.
We still feel this is a disgrace and if right and proper communication had been made  before this started none of this may have happened and we feel that a proper apology is due for something that started ‘behind the scenes’ in an improper manner that smacked of underhanded deceit.

How you can now say that a method that was perfectly acceptable for four years is suddenly not acceptable is confounding and quite honestly insulting.

We have continually done our best to maintain our method as being simple and honest.

We had even advised the chairman when attempts were made to ‘fix’ votes by our writers to show our integrity (and therefore that of the EBU/EBC) would remain intact. Some of that related to parties he knows of and is connected with and an artist now on his own record label. If you were not aware of that maybe it will make you think about it more.

You have even noted the fact that the Board of the EBU is itself admitting that the Blues Magazine’s method is unacceptable and yet  are still going to proceed with it!

Will we be notified of the make up of the panel of ‘independent’ judges that are selected???

We need to know this as soon as it has been settled and by whom please.

Who else will be nominating besides the ‘invitation extended’ to Blues Matters?? – We will make a nomination but it will not be by 7pm tonight but by end of week.

How will we (and the artists and public) know that this panel is indeed ‘independent’?
I know that I will be able to rely on our nomination acting on their own decision on the day without reverence to Blues Matters BUT will not feel the same if certain other parties are involved in nominating panel members from past experience in this matter.

We are (have to be it seems) satisfied that at least Red Butler have been included in the result of this bad tasting affair as one of four acts to take part in a play off at The Boom Boom Club hosted by Pete Feenstra.

(PS Kaz Hawkins came 3rd in our Poll).

Alan P.

Subsequent to this, the 1st UK Blues Challenge was finally announced although contestants, Red Butler, had to chase the organisers for information about it!

On 11 the December 2014, the event took place and a winner was declared with the result being announced on the EBU website on 16th December 2014.

However, even at this stage, the Board of the EBU was continuing to ignore its own rules etc. which prompted Ashwyn Smyth to send the following e-mail to the Board on 22nd December 2014:

Dear Members of the EBU Board

I note that the official announcement of the EBU nominated UK entrant in the 2015 EBC is displayed upon the EBU website and am dismayed and disgusted to note that, YET again, the Board of the EBU has chosen to ignore its own rules!

The EBU Newsletter #28, distributed at the end of October, contained an item as follows:

2015 EBC: reminder to Country Responsibles

By now, most of the countries, participating in the 2015 EBC, are in the middle of their selection process. We kindly remind the Country Responsible of each represented country to inform the EBU president (president@europeanbluesunion.com) and the EBU Board (secretary@europeanbluesunion.com), as specified in the regulations published on the EBU website:

Notification of the name of the band/performer and names of each band member and their instruments, the band’s curriculum, rider, high-resolution photo and a song title to be included on the EBC compilation CD, including a copyright waiver of the band and their label : 15 November of the year preceding the EBC.

This, of course, is a reminder of the notification process as detailed in the provisions of Regulation 3 of the European Blues Challenge (EBC) Regulations set out on the relevant page of the EBU’s own website.
I am assured by the UK’s country responsible, Alan Pearce, that he has not notified the details required regarding the UK’s entrant, other than the original, valid notification regarding Red Butler, and, indeed, that he has not been provided with the necessary information to do so. It begs the question who has made the nomination and supplied the required information? Certainly, it is not the UK’s country responsible.
Therefore, it follows that, as the nomination of Laurence Jones has not been made in accordance with the EBU’s own rules & regulations, it cannot be considered valid. This being the case, the EBU Board appears, by its actions, to have, effectively, disqualified the UK from being represented at the 2015 EBC.
Yet another demonstration of the Board of the EBU’s total disregard for its own rules and regulations and contempt for the UK’s Active Members and blues community..
I look forward to receiving your early response and justification/explanation of your actions.

On 10th January 2015 Ashwyn received the following letter from the Secretary of the EBU:

EBU letter 10 01 2015 1

Click for full-size

The first few paragraphs of this letter simply go over old ground but it is the final three paragraphs which are, perhaps, most concerning.

‘The EBU board has taken its responsibility and has solved this matter’. And how has it “solved” this matter? By ignoring the rules already put in place by the EBU governing the choice of national representatives etc.

We cannot accept the unfounded accusation that we do not respect the EBC rules’,/em>. It is disturbing that the Board’s officers and advisers do not seem to feel that a failure to act in accordance with the rules & regulations as laid down can be interpreted as not respecting these same rules.

‘In regard to the profound interest shown in the EBC-rules we would like to underline that internal rules, especially in a private and a non-profit organization as ours, are meant to support the goals of the association.’ We would not disagree but nonetheless the rules must be respected and adhered to whether the Board likes it or not.

‘Since our organization is based on volunteer work only, we simply do not have the means, nor the intention, to spend endless energy in internal bickering. Therefore we cannot and will not allow that our project, which is still fragile, is obstructed from within.’ It would appear that an Active Member of the EBU highlighting the Board acting in a manner which ignores and is in breach of the Union’s rules & regulations is considered by the Board as being ‘obstructive’. What does this tell us about the Board and its members?

‘If there is a serious complaint, it is up to one of the parties directly concerned (and not to its alleged spokesman) to start the mediation procedure as described in our articles of association, or to resign as a member’. It would not be in the interests of the EBU Board for their actions ignoring the rules & regulations to be subject to the legal scrutiny that would result from a legal mediation process. The reference to ‘its alleged spokesman’ is an unnecessary and cheap comment which is derogatory to Alan Pearce, the UK Country Responsible. The Board would, no doubt, be delighted if Ashwyn Smyth or Alan Pearce (or both) resigned as that would remove two thorns in the Board’s side.

As a final footnote, it would appear that the Board ignoring its own rules etc. is not new. At the General Assembly in 2014 some 7 members of the Board were up for election/re-election, this despite the fact that the EBU’s own Statutes – Article 12 – state that it shall be ensured that each year not more than one third of the Board members are elected.’

Extract from the Minutes of the G A – 12.04.14 circulated with Newsletter #25
5. Renewal / Nomination of 7 board members
The chairman explains that Mrs. Carolin Wobben has resigned as board member and that 6 of the current board mandates expire at the present GA. All of these 6 board members are candidate to renew their mandate.

There are 3 additional candidates: Mr. Mark Stenzler, Mr. Mike Sponza, Mr. Normunds Kalnins. These additional candidates comment briefly their candidature.

Through a majority vote the general assembly appoints Mr. Thomas Ruf, Mr. Francis Winnepenninckx, Mr. Jorden Wouters, Mrs. Roser Infiesta Valls, Mr. Pertti Nurmi, Mr. Davide Grandi and Mr. Mark Stenzler as board members.
Their mandate will run until the general assembly of 2017.

Extract from EBU Statutes 3.6.10

ARTICLE 12: Length of the term of office of Board members
Board members are appointed for a period of three years. Board members appointed as President, Treasurer or Secretary-General are appointed for a period of three years as of their appointment or reelection as Board members and are eligible for re-election. Interim Board members appointed and Board members elected as interim President, Secretary-General or Treasurer are only elected for the remainder of the term of office of their predecessor.

All Board members are eligible for re-election in the office or position they hold up to a maximum of three terms as a Board member. Terms of office are renewed at the end of the annual General Assembly.

The Board shall be re-elected on a rolling basis, e.g. it shall be ensured that each year not more than one third of the Board members are elected.

When the Board members are elected for the first time, their terms of office may be modified (shortened) in order to ensure the further election on a rolling basis.

Exceptionally, the first Board members are elected for the period stipulated on the deed relating to the Board.

In summary, the Statutes say that no more than one third of the Board can be elected in any one year. In 2014, no less than 7 members were elected – that is nearly 60% of the Board and that is in breach of the EBU’s Statutes!