ABF AGM and Board Meeting May 3rd, 2023


ABF AGM and Board Meeting May 3rd, 2023

Major Items and Decisions

ABF Council changes

Barbara Travis (South Australia), Adel Abdelhamid (South Australia), Julian Foster (New South Wales), and Christopher Leach (Victoria) have retired from Council. The Board and Council thank them for their valuable and generous contributions. A warm welcome to Justin Mill (Victoria), Dagmar Neumann (New South Wales), and Michael Court and Caprice Davey (South Australia) who join ABF Council.

Julian Foster, myABF Project Manager, was elected as a Supplemental Councillor for a period of two years.

New and Retiring Board Member

Ian Thomson joined the ABF Board as Treasurer in 2020. Ian resigned as Treasurer in January 2023 and decided not to renominate for a position on the Board at the AGM. Rob Ward took on the role of Treasurer in January. As there was no other nomination for Treasurer Rob Ward will continue in the role until the AGM 2024, which is an election year. Sue Falkingham was the only nomination for the vacant Ordinary Member of the Board. The Board welcomes Sue and we look forward to her input in the coming year.

Strategic Plan

The strategic plan focusses on the three key themes of Attracting, Developing and Retaining players, directors, scorers, tournament organisers and volunteers. The ABF employees and contractors support various aspects of bridge, including marketing.

The ABF makes decisions in consultation with stakeholders and with the intent to promote bridge and support States, Territories, and clubs.


Many players have returned to face-to-face bridge, from club level through to national level, although numbers at ABF-licensed events are still down.

Law 74A- proper attitude – needs to be enforced to enable all bridge sessions to be enjoyable for all.

  1. A player should always maintain a courteous attitude
  2. A player should carefully avoid any remark or extraneous action that might cause annoyance or embarrassment to another player or might interfere with the enjoyment of the game.

Council discussed the importance of addressing bad behaviour at all levels of bridge. Doing so will require changing the culture across Australia, from the national events to club duplicates. The Board and Council intend to make this issue a priority over the next year and will work closely with the States and Territories to drive these changes.

ABF General Counsel is leading an overhaul of the Recorder system for the ABF, including the rules for etiquette and behaviour. He has formed a committee to consider changes to the ABF approach.

Capitation and Masterpoint Fees

The year ending 31 December 2023 is a pivotal year for the ABF as we navigate our way towards 2025 in implementing our Strategic Plan 2022-25. The themes of our plan Attract, Develop and Retain players is key to the success of bridge in Australia. COVID has had a 10% downward impact on our player numbers. The good news is that it looks as though the decline has eased. We now need to grow, increase revenue, and reduce costs. At the 2023 AGM, Council approved Capitation fees effective 1 April 2024 at $20 per player.

Masterpoint fees across all levels were increased in line with inflation along with the commencement of a three-year adjustment to gold points to align with the top level red masterpoints. While costs have gone up, we are very excited by the benefits myABF is already providing congress tournament organisers, clubs, and players over the next two years and beyond.

Online bridge

Jenny Thompson advised Council on the progress of the Online Strategy committee. Surveys of players and clubs have been successful with 155 clubs, approx. 50% of affiliated clubs, and 2,490 members responding. The committee has now formed small working groups which will provide a more in-depth analysis of each aspect. A final report will be presented to the Board by October 2023 and discussed at the ABF Council mid-term meeting.

ABF Education

Richard Ward highlighted the changes to the ABF Education structure. New criteria are being established by states and territories for teacher accreditation and teacher recognition has become a State/Territory responsibility. Sue Falkingham will take on the role of ABF Teaching Liaison.


Attendance at both clubs and tournaments is down compared to pre-pandemic levels. The key challenge is to encourage people to return to playing in clubs. Marketing by State and Territory bodies and the clubs themselves is critical to achieving this outcome. Head of Marketing Peter Cox has outlined a number of successful marketing strategies including ‘How To Write a Press Release’ which is available on BridgeTV.
» How To Write a Press Release

Feedback and Future Meetings

The Board welcomes feedback and suggestions on the above matters or other subjects.

The next Board Meeting is via Zoom on June 2nd, 2023.

ABF Council confirmed the mid-term meeting date as October 28th, 2023, followed by a Board meeting on October 29th in Sydney.

The 2024 Annual General Meeting will be held on 24th May 2024, in Brisbane.

2023-2024 ABF Board:

Allison Stralow (President), Stephen Fischer (Secretary), Rob Ward (Treasurer), Richard Ward, Sue Falkingham

Jane Rasmussen (Executive Secretary), Phil Markey (General Counsel), Michael Bryan (Deputy General Counsel)


10th May 2023.

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