1. THE FIXTURE LIST
A provisional fixture list is drawn up by a small subcommittee. (The provisional list is posted on the IC of GB Website in January/February) The list is agreed by the full Committee in about November each year. A budget is set for each fixture in January/February. The fixture list then goes to press in March. There are minor adjustments both to the list and the budgets as the season progresses. The final fixture list and any subsequent amendments are posted under the Fixtures page on the Website and on Facebook; when a fixture is completed it appears as a Result on the Match Results page of the Website.
Once the season starts, the smooth running of the IC of GB's fixtures and events is largely in the hands of the Match Managers, whose names and contacting details appear by the side of each event/fixture in the IC Calendar. This note is intended to provide guidance to Match Managers on their role and responsibilities. Based on their feedback, and that of members, it will be updated.
2. THE BUDGET
The Match Manager receives a budget from the Match Secretary or the Honorary Treasurer. The match budget covers all expenditure not otherwise covered by IC members participating in the fixture. The funds may be claimed from the Honorary Treasurer in advance, or after expenditure has been incurred: any expenditure or use of advance should be fully accounted for, and any unspent advances reimbursed to the Club.
The Match Manager should contact the Match Secretary with any doubts about the use of the budget. In almost all cases of regular fixtures (as opposed to IC Events, like the Potter Cup or IC Weeks), the budget for an away match exists to cover basic items: the costs of juniors participating in the matches and the cost of gifts for the host team. IC members are expected to cover the costs of their own travel and accommodation where this is not taken care of by the host IC (in most cases it is not). In the case of IC Council Events, the budget includes a contribution to (if not full coverage) of the costs of travel and accommodation; it also covers the competition entry fee (which in turn often, but not always, covers accommodation costs).
In the case of home fixtures, the budget covers the costs of entertainment of the visiting team, but not travel and accommodation, any costs associated with booking the venue and the cost of tennis balls. The budget for domestic IC events is largely intended to cover the latter two items. The extra costs (usually lunch and dinner) which arise from the participation of IC of GB members in fixtures or events will usually need to be covered by a match or event fee. This fee should not, however, be such as to deter members from playing in an event and staying for dinner.
If a Match Manager has any doubts about the sufficiency of a budget he/she has been allocated, should not hesitate to raise the matter with the Match Secretary and/or the Honorary Treasurer, and should do so, ideally, on the basis of costings.
Match Managers should copy the appropriate Match Secretary on any subsequent significant correspondence about a fixture.
3. MATCH REPORTS AND WEBSITE
It is vitally important that the Match Manager sends the results of the fixture, along with a few pictures and a few bullet points about the match/event by email to ICofGB@gmail.com or by contacting Craig Edmondson on 07973 989795. This should ideally be done on the day of the fixture and certainly no later than the day after, so that the IC Website and Facebook page can be updated immediately.
It is a clear policy of the IC of GB, and of ICs worldwide, to encourage the participation of juniors (as guests or associate members) in as many matches as possible. Budgetary provision is made for this and the LTA's contribution to IC of GB funds is principally for this purpose. The best juniors do, of course, have busy playing schedules, but the LTA has agreed to help recruit juniors for our matches. The Match Managers contact point on the Committee for juniors (male and female) is the Honorary Secretary, who will advise on how to proceed with the LTA. It is important that opposing ICs can match the juniors we provide.
5. CHILD SAFEGUARDING AND PROTECTION
The IC of GB is committed to ensure the safety of children who are participating in IC events. Match managers are required to ensure that all participants are aware of the IC Code of Conduct and comply with the procedures and documentation of the Child Safeguarding and Protection Policy.
This has usually been decided for a Match Manager. But for a home match the Match Manager should contact the club or centre concerned as soon as possible to confirm (and in writing) court availability, consider back-up in the event of bad weather, and to discuss catering arrangements which might involve the club. Check everything at the venue the day before. Reconfirm catering arrangements on the day.
7. CATERING/ON AND OFF COURT/ENTERTAINMENT
There is no particular pattern for the entertainment of visiting teams, except where a match has a particular tradition, and some do. But the minimum expected (and budgeted for) is that there will be a good official match dinner and lunches during the match. There should always be water available by the side of the court.
There is sometimes a doubt about how far the IC of GB should extend freedom of the bar towards visiting teams during a match. The extent of this freedom depends to some extent on management of the budget, but in most cases it is not unreasonable, after the usual courtesies have been observed with respect to individual players immediately after play, to expect visiting teams to pay for their own drinks during the course of a fixture. The key point is that whatever the policy is, Match Managers should make this policy clear to the visiting teams, and this is often best done as part of the Captains/Match Managers Meetings at the start of a fixture.
Visiting teams are expected to pay for their hotels, international and, except in exceptional cases, local travel.
The IC of GB can give assistance in the choice of transport and with initial reservations.
Similarly we would and should expect the same conditions to apply to us when visiting an IC. In the case of some IC Council Events, where accommodation and transport may be arranged as part of the competition entry fee. In the event of cancellation, it may be necessary to forfeit deposits. All this should be confirmed in writing with the host IC.
International travel to away matches: buying cheaper non-refundable tickets carries with it a risk that the traveler may have to withdraw and forfeit the cost of the ticket (or some part of it). This risk must be borne entirely by the individual and not the Club.
The IC of GB does not compensate participants in IC events or their partners in the case of financial loss, which is for each individual's personal account. This could arise as a result of medical treatment or when flights/train journeys have to be cancelled or rescheduled either before or during events due to illness or injury or in the case of lost or stolen property including money and rackets or due to any other incident. Every participant is strongly advised to have comprehensive travel including medical insurance in place from the moment the first expenditure is committed. Unfortunately, the IC of GB is not in a position to take out cover on behalf of members.
Match managers are recommended to verify with their team members that they have arranged comprehensive insurance cover when they accept the invitation to play in the IC event.
Certain fixtures and IC Events have trophies attached to them. Match Managers should establish the whereabouts of these trophies in good time before the fixture or event. They should ensure that they have been appropriately engraved and cleaned and that they are safely transported to and from the venue.
The Honorary Secretary should always be informed about the whereabouts of a trophy, until a permanent place is established for their collective safekeeping.
It is important to brief visitors and to be briefed when visiting about on-court dress and dress for events during a fixture. For example, some clubs still have a 'predominantly white' tennis kit ruling. The dress for dinner may be IC tie and jacket, or a suit. The IC Ball is black tie.
Some clubs do not provide towels and visitors especially need to be told to bring towels. Advice on tennis shoes may also be important if the surface sets requirements for them.
Most ICs have tracksuits, shirts, jumpers and other clothing specific to their IC. In team events they make sure all players wear their IC colours, which looks very impressive not only in group photos but also on and off the court.
The IC of GB has not pursued this approach too much in the past, although we did at times enable members to buy tracksuits, shirts, jumpers and caps. Most of these have gone out of stock a long time ago and it is now high time that we improve the visual manifestation of the IC of GB.
We are starting with jumpers and we have re-established contact with our original supplier of traditional sleeveless and long-sleeved cabled sweaters in off white. From the 2016 season onwards we would ideally like all teams to come to matches with one of those sweaters in their bag, so that they may be worn at appropriate moments in such events.
We really hope that Match Managers will set the right example and wear one of these sweaters themselves and that they encourage their team members do so too. Please arrange for orders to be placed in a timely manner with Henk Nijeboer (email@example.com). Unfortunately, the IC cannot give these sweaters away and they will have to be paid for by the members themselves.
We would ask you to help making this initiative a success. In the future we expect to make track suits and shirts available again.
The IC of GB has a number of IC flags (and banners) which can be taken to IC fixtures and events. Wherever there is a flag pole! This is particularly true of IC Events where there is a tradition to fly the flags of the participating IC teams.
It is the Match Manager's responsibility to provide an adequate number of suitable tennis balls for home fixture. The cost is taken from the budget. It is difficult to forecast the requirement for tennis balls for every fixture (because it depends not least on the number of matches to be played and on the surface to be played on, but as a rough guide new balls should be used after every two sets). (For matches against the less financially well-off ICs, often in countries where tennis balls are expensive, it may be appropriate to offer to bring tennis balls for the match.)
We may need clearer guidelines on this aspect. For regular annual fixtures (eg France, The Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland), there is a case for dispensing with small tokens for one's opponents and indeed with gifts for the IC, unless the match is also celebrating an important anniversary. We should recognise, with a suitable memento, any overseas tennis club which offers its facilities for a match free or at cost: guidance here can be sought from the opposing Match Manager. The Committee will, from time to time, wish to recognise the contribution made to home fixtures by GB clubs, and in this respect Match Managers feedback on these clubs is very relevant. When playing ICs with which contact is less frequent (for example, far away overseas tours) it should be, and is, customary to present one's opponents with modest tokens of appreciation. In these cases, too, the host ICs and the host tennis clubs, should be given something more substantial.
15. TEAM SELECTION
In the case of ordinary fixtures, this is a matter for the discretion of Match Managers, who may call on the Club Captain for assistance.
It is part of the task of the Match Manager to try and ascertain the playing standard and age categories of the opposing team so as to ensure a well-balanced match. It will usually be easier for the home side, providing it is given sufficient notice, to match the strength of the visitors, rather than the other way around.
In the case of representative matches, the Match Manager should always try and consult the Committee through the Match Secretary and Club Captain before finalising selection.
If a Match Manager cannot attend his/her fixture then a deputy must be appointed and all relevant contacts be notified: the opposing Match Manager/Captain, IC of GB players, the Match Secretary, and the venue. Usually, the Match Manager is also the Captain of the team, unless the Club Captain is participating in which case the Club Captain should assume the captaincy on the day and the speech-making responsibilities. In cases when administration continues during the fixture itself, the Match Manager may ask a team member to assume the captaincy, but the opposing Match Manager/Captain must be informed at the outset of the fixture.
Confirm the availability of all players on the eve of the fixture.
16. SUPPORTERS AND GUESTS
While encouraging the presence of supporter at IC fixtures and events, Match Managers will sometimes need to ensure that there is a proper balance between the number of players and supporters. Supporters often receive hospitality either directly or indirectly. In some cases Match Managers may feel it appropriate to levy a charge on members for the costs of their guests.
In some cases, most usually the unavailability of suitable tennis opposition for our opponents, Match Managers may wish to call upon guest players to join a team. In such cases a match fee may not be appropriate. The Match Report should make clear the name of any guest who has played for the Club.
Match Managers should, for home matches, provide the opposing IC and, ideally, GB team members with an itinerary for the fixture. (They should try and ensure that they receive the same for away matches.)
18. CAPTAINS' MEETINGS
It is a good idea to begin a fixture with a Captains' Meeting. It should take place as soon as possible after the welcome: to sort out the schedule of play, decide on the length of matches, and to set out any other guidance, for example, with respect to the costs to be borne by the visitors themselves.
When playing away, Match Managers should ask for a Captains' Meeting if one has not been timetabled.
19. AWARDS OF HONORARY INTERNATIONAL MEMBERSHIP
Honorary International Membership of our Club is not to be given away lightly. But it may be appropriate to honour a member (or members) of the opposing or host IC with Honorary International Membership of the IC of GB. The criteria for such an award are not set in stone (though Club Rule 3 offers some guidance), but usually, a recipient will have done some major service to international tennis (either as a player or an administrator), or be a respected servant of the bilateral fixture or the IC event in question. The recipient must be a member of his/her own IC. The IC of GB Handbook lists all current Honorary International Members of the IC of GB.
It is often left to the Match Manager, usually in consultation with senior members of the GB team (and ideally with a Committee Member) to make the award. It is also customary for the Match Manager also to mention the proposed award to a senior member of the opposing IC (preferably a Committee Member and ideally already an Honorary International Member of our Club) to check the suitability of the award.
The Match Manager should ensure that he/she has the necessary GB tie or scarf (in the case of ladies) to be able to present to the new Honorary International Member(s). Ties offered up by members should be replaced!
In the Match Report the Match Manager should record any awards made or received of Honorary International Membership. In theory these awards have to be ratified by the Committees of the Clubs concerned and entered into Club records. The new Honorary International Members further receive official letters from the Honorary Secretary.
In recent years it has become customary for ICs to use IC Events (for example IC Weeks) as an occasion to make their awards of honorary international membership. In contrast, the IC of GB, which has a very full fixture list, has tended to make its awards during bilateral matches or the Pre-Wimbledon visit. If, however, a Match Manager is in doubt about an award, it is always possible to delay the announcement and award until after consideration by the Committee at its next meeting. The award would then be delivered by the Honorary Secretary to the IC and individual(s) concerned: the honour will have been worth the wait!
Further guidance on any aspect of this matter may be otained from the Match Secretary or the Honorary Secretary.
20. LETTERS OF THANKS
Letters of thanks should be written by Match Managers as soon after the fixtures as possible: in the case of home fixtures, to the host tennis clubs; and in the case of the away fixtures to the host ICs. In some cases it may be appropriate for the Club Chairman also to write, in which case Match Managers should propose this.
Any serious problems encountered in a fixture should be reported as soon as possible to the Fixtures Match Secretary.