Players harbouring international aspirations are naturally interested in the level of funding available to support Welsh teams playing in international events. Players who harbour no such aspirations are also interested in the matter, although their take on the appropriate allocation of WBU funds to support international bridge may be somewhat different.

Here is some background information.

Welsh Bridge Union funds are divided into two elements, the General Fund and the World Fund. This division was first made in 2000, when Wales became a separate NBO (having previously been part of Great Britain). It was thought appropriate at the time to separate the additional international opportunities (and associated expenses) that then arose from the activities that we had always supported. Expenditure that is incurred as a consequence of our status as an NBO is therefore ascribed to the World Fund.

Unfortunately this distinction tends to obscure, rather than illuminate, the WBU’s annual expenditure on international bridge as a whole. It also does nothing to assist in defining the sum that is available to that end.

The current balance of WBU funds is £159,527, £3,000 less than 12 months ago. This is as per Balance Sheet; the funds in cash accounts total significantly less than this – of the order of £140,000. That money has to support all WBU-sponsored activities, and meet the needs of the entire membership.

The General Fund notionally supports various administrative charges, national events, all home internationals, and honoraria. It also meets EBL and WBF affiliation charges which amount to some £3,000 pa. Further, it supports a ‘training budget’ (£5,000 pa is assigned to this) and a Junior Development Fund (also £5,000).

The cost of hosting a home international match is of the order of £8,000. The cost to the WBU of participation in home international matches not held in Wales depends greatly on the location. In the 2014/15 season, when there was one home international (Junior Camrose/Peggy Bayer) and four away (two Camrose weekends, plus Lady Milne and Teltcher Trophy) the net cost to the WBU was £18,522.

The World Fund does not exist as a separate bank account, but it is presented separately on the Balance Sheet. It is intended to support activities and events that are held outside the UK, such as the European Championships. There is no absolute distinction between the two funds, as may be inferred from the fact that a third of the Chief Executive’s stipend is currently charged to the World Fund.

The World Fund is replenished from:

income from Celtic Simultaneous events;

35% of Bank and Building Society interest received;

income from the Llangollen Swiss teams; and

a % share of Welsh participation in Simultaneous events that are organised by other NBOs.

This gives an income of approximately £7,000 pa to the World Fund.

The cost of entry to the European Championships (held biennially) was, on the last occasion, £2,746.63 per team. Expenses paid to the players and NPCs, along with insurance and pre-event training, are additional to this. The entry fee for the Commonwealth Nations Championship (held every four years) was on the last occasion £1,000 per team. Support for a Welsh Junior team competing internationally, such as this summer in Norway, comes to some £3,000 per event.

The 2010 European Championships, to which three Welsh teams were sent, cost the WBU £16,673. Entry fees to that event amounted to £9,137, while player grants, which were of the order of £250/£300 per player/NPC, totalled £7,536.

The corresponding figures for the 2012 European Championships, held in Dublin, when we sent just two teams, were as follows:

entry fees: £5,641

player grants (of the order of £500 per player/NPC): £7,800

total expenditure: £13,441

It can be seen that the European Championships can give rise to some tricky decisions for WBU management and the selectors. To send three teams on each occasion, whilst also making a significant contribution to players’ expenses, would inevitably deplete WBU funds. A calculation has to be made on each occasion as to the number of teams (in the three categories of Open, Seniors and Ladies) that merit an entry, and also the level at which players’ expenses should be capped.

Thanks to Fiona Noyce, Alan Screen and Linda Greenland for supporting information.