BowlsWales are aware of a recent newsletter issued by a number of our member
associations over the weekend and wish to make the following statement in response.
Firstly, we wish to condemn in the strongest terms the callous personal attacks on our
Directors and, in particular, our former Chair Alun Jones. Alun served BowlsWales with
distinction for his three year term of office and also worked tirelessly during his role with the
Welsh Bowls Federation (WBF) to make a positive difference to bowls in Wales. To suggest
that he stepped down as a result of any actions or pressure by the member associations is
wholly incorrect and misleading. Alun’s term of office was, as stated above, for three years
and Alun chose not to stand again as Chair following his many years of service to
BowlsWales and previously to the WBF.
BowlsWales wishes to apologise to Alun and his family for the facts being misrepresented in
this way, and any hurt that has been caused.
Over the three years of BowlsWales, we have worked hard through formal and informal
processes to develop constructive and supportive working arrangements with all our
member associations in order to help build and develop all aspects of the game in Wales.
However, there are factions within some of our member associations that are keen to see
the demise of BowlsWales and are willing to misrepresent the facts in order to do so.
BowlsWales fully acknowledges and supports the fundamental principle that our member
associations manage and administer their specific code of the game. BowlsWales has been
clear on this principle since it was founded in 2017 to act as the coordinating body for bowls
in Wales. However, the governance arrangements of Sport Wales require us to act, and to
be identified, as the national governing body for bowls because we receive public money
to develop and support all codes of the game in Wales. This is terminology and should not
be confused with any intention of taking over or replacing the management or
administration activities historically undertaken by our member associations.
Sport Wales can only recognise one body for a sport and that body is referred to as the
national governing body or NGB – that’s not to say that other controlling or managing
bodies may not exist, but that it is simply the terminology that Sport Wales uses in it’s
governance and administration. Sport Wales also acknowledges the need for one modern
organisation that has the right skills, expertise and diversity needed to face the challenges
of sport and run an effective business. Sport Wales cannot, and will not, fund multiple bodies
for one sport, nor can it support gender specific organisations. As such BowlsWales is the
organisation that is recognised by Sport Wales for this purpose – and as one that was
created to operate as a modern organisation to enable bowls in Wales to thrive.
With regard to other claims in the newsletter, World Bowls do not use the ‘national governing
body’ terminology as they refer to member associations or bodies as ‘member nation
authorities’, and confer a level of authority and administration to these members that we
have never sought to challenge; the link here illustrates the points made regarding World
BowlsWales exists solely to support and develop the game of bowls in Wales, and to ensure
that all member associations have governance arrangements and policies in place to
support and protect bowlers wherever they play the game. We are looking to grow the
game, attract more new bowlers from all walks of life to ensure our clubs and sport can
thrive in the future.
Our board of directors are all volunteers, all recruited following a transparent and open
recruitment process and all bring specific skills to the board to allow it to carry out its
responsibilities in a professional and responsible manner. We will shortly be recruiting for
several new directors to help fill the skills gaps that we currently have on the board to
continue our work.
BowlsWales also has the responsibility for the submission of our nominations for
Commonwealth Games representation and is responsible for ensuring that monies
allocated for elite development and performance are properly accounted for as part of
an overarching performance plan for bowls.
The newsletter that has been produced does not recognise nor acknowledge any of the
above facts, and we believe that bowlers in Wales should have the opportunity of
understanding our recognised position before making up their mind.
Finally, the contents of this response have been approved by all directors of BowlsWales
and by representatives of Sport Wales.