The following is a report on the results of our survey carried out recently. It was not a scientific survey but I believe it conveys the views of most of our members.
Owing to the surprising announcement at the end of September by England Athletics about the increases in registration fees and a change in structure and the potential impact on MMAC, I quickly produced an online survey on our website seeking our member’s views. This survey ran for approximately 7 weeks and had a total of 147 participants.
The following questions were asked:-
- Are you a member of a UKA Club? YES/NO
- Are you a 1st Claim Member to MMAC? YES/NO/YES track & field only
- Are you happy to pay a registration fee to EA? YES/NO
- Do you recognise the need to pay a registration fee? YES/NO/Please help us understand why you selected this answer
- If you answered YES to question 4, what would the maximum amount be that you are prepared to pay? £7 to £10 /£10 to £15/ £15 to £20/ Other option
- Do you agree to a two tier system? i.e. road runners pay less YES/NO
- Are you satisfied with what you get from the registration scheme? YES/NO/Please help us understand why you selected this answer
- What would you like to see EA provide out of this extra fee? To your Club/As an individual/Please help us understand why you selected this answer
The above questions were a ‘knee jerk’ reaction to the announcement and with hindsight would probably be either different or phrased differently. However, I felt it important to seek views immediately so that I could present the results at our November Committee meeting. Subsequently to the EA announcement, their own AGM was held where Clubs expressed strong views and as a result a series of Forums have been set up by EA.
Following are the results received to the questions giving both numbers and percentages.
Question 1 – Are you a member of a UKA Club?
136 answered YES (94%); 8 answered NO (6%) – there were 3 who skipped the question
Question 2 – Are you a 1st Claim Member to MMAC
25 answered YES (17%); 113 answered YES (79%); 6 answered YES Track & Field Only (4%) – there were 3 who skipped the question.
Question 3 – Are you happy to pay a registration fee to EA?
97 answered YES (66%); 50 answered NO (34%) – No skips.
Question 4 – Do you recognise the need to pay a registration fee?
113 answered YES (77%); 34 answered NO (23%) – No skips and 108 comments.
Question 5 – If you answered YES to Question 4, what would the maximum amount be that you are prepared to pay?
52 answered £7 to £10 (44%); 19 answered £10 to £15 (16%); 16 answered £15 to £20 (14%)
31 answered ‘Other Option’ (26%) of which 68% wanted £5
Question 6 – Do you agree to a two tier system? i.e. road runners pay less.
144 answered NO (74%); 38 answered YES (26%) – there were 3 who skipped the question.
Question 7 – Are you satisfied with what you get from the registration scheme?
80 answered NO (56%); 64 answered YES (44%) – 3 skips and 104 comments.
Question 8 – What would you like to see EA provide out of this extra fee?
68 answered ‘To your Club’ (64%); 39 answered ‘As an individual’ (36%) – 40 skips and 113 comments.
The overwhelming thing that stood out from the comments was the ignorance of members of either what EA is or does or where we as a Masters Club benefit. Even 1st Claim status was not understood by all as a few ticked YES both for a UKA Club and MMAC, thus shifting the analysis slightly!
As we would expect, the majority of our members belong to a UKA Club (Q1) but the numbers claiming to be 1st Claim members was too high at 17%, the actual figure being nearer 11% (Q2). The majority seem happy to pay a registration fee and do recognise the need (Q3 & Q4) however some did question what EA provides for the veteran/master athlete competing in only a few events per year. Others thought that a nominal fee was acceptable but not the large 4x increase. The majority 44% were prepared to pay between £7 and £10 (Q5) and as most members were against the two tier system (Q6) then an across the board registration fee of £10 seemed to be acceptable. It’s interesting that although members generally are happy for a registration scheme the majority are not satisfied with what they get from it (Q7), many not seeing any benefits particularly as veteran/master athletes. From the comments made this is mainly through a lack of understanding. Members wanted EA to provide more to the Clubs than individuals (Q8) but there was a range of comments from wanting more to be done for youngsters through to more for the older athletes.
More education for our members on what EA provides and why we have a registration scheme in the first place is required. I can reply to some of the concerns expressed on the survey to explain or allay their fears and misunderstandings.
This was not a scientific survey and only 22% (147) of the potential 652 members on email/internet actually took part. But it is a guide as to how our members feel. The bottom line is that most are happy to pay an increase up to double the current fees providing it is across the board i.e. road runners and track & field pay the same.