Bees United will be 20 years old this June. BU began as a pressure group, took majority ownership of the club, and then created a partnership with Matthew Benham which led to him becoming the owner. As we approach the anniversary we are more than half-way through the first season in the stadium Bees United campaigned so long to create. However because of COVID it is a rather quiet Brentford Community Stadium and under the Government’s ‘road-map’ out of lockdown it will stay that way until the end of the scheduled League season.The Government expects that after that ’in the largest outdoor seated venues where crowds can spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower)’.
Today BU is a 2,250 strong group of Bees fans with a guaranteed seat on the Club board and an important power of veto on key issues.
The BU Board decided that the 2020-21 season would be a good time to do some housekeeping and we have looked at issues such as Conflicts of Interest, our GDPR compliance for your data protection and copyright of our logo. We have also decided to review all our rules in order to take account of the changes and developments over these past two decades. Two board members, Jon Gosling and Don Tanswell, have gone through all the detail of the 120 rules. Their recommendations have been accepted by the BU Board and a new set of 84 rules has been drafted which we believe update, simplify and clarify them.
We are asking you, the BU members, to vote on the proposals at this year’s Annual General Meeting which will be held for the first time on Zoom at 7pm on March 31st . A week beforehand there will be a special Zoom for those members who would like to drill down into the details and comment on the proposed changes. Details of both Zooms will be sent out to members.
Here are the main proposals:
- The ‘Objects’ of Bees United: Rule 2 describes what we are all about, what our purpose is and where our heart is. We’ve taken some old wording and added some words from what we say on our website so that ‘BU Objects’ now reflects what we stand for today, 20 years:
- To safeguard the Club so that it has a stable and sustainable future as a professional football club and is a club which supporters can continue to call their own.
- To note and do everything to preserve the power BU has with a director on the board of the Club and as a special shareholder in the club with the right to veto the sale of the Lionel Road ground if the sale does not meet the following requirements specified in the Brentford Football Club Ltd. Articles of Association;
(i) It is a stadium authorised to host professional football with 20,000 (or greater) capacity of which 75% must be seated and all must be covered;
(ii) It is in one of the 3 local boroughs (Hounslow, Richmond or Ealing);
(iii) The quality of facilities is, overall, as good as or better than the stadium being left;
(iv) The Club has a freehold or long term (99 years or more) leasehold (at no more than nominal rent) ownership of the stadium;
- To strengthen the bonds between the Club, its supporters, the local community and the fan base, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust (BFCCST) and the communities which it serves.
- To provide the Club’s board members and senior executives with oversight and advice on relations with supporter groups.
- To encourage and promote the principles of supporter representation on the board of any company owning or controlling the Club.
- To encourage an interest in the heritage and values of Brentford Football Club and specifically the role of Bees United and supporter activism.
- To provide information to members and to conduct the affairs of the Society in accessible and appropriate ways;
- To be a fully inclusive organisation welcoming all expressions of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation as specified in the Equality Act 2010 and shall include reference to any statutory re-enactment and/or modification.
2. Benefit of the Community
As a ‘Community Benefit Society’ we are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to ensure that we do benefit our community. So we already have a rule (No 6) which requires that any profits should not be distributed among our members.The Board believes there should be an additional ‘Community Benefit’ rule which is one used by other sports societies:
‘The Society’s purpose is to be the vehicle through which a healthy, balanced and constructive relationship with the Club and its supporters and the communities it serves is encouraged and maintained. The business of the Society is to be conducted for the benefit of the community served by the Club and not for the profit of its members.
The current rules link membership to shares which were paid for. We’ve tidied this up to recognise the fact that membership is free. Our new member definition reflects our data protection obligations.
The rules about meetings have been simplified and modernised to allow for virtual AGMs and any other BU Member meetings. The advantage of using platforms such as Zoom is that it allows all our members to take part, wherever they are in the world as we now have members as far away as New Zealand and California.
5.,Other tidying up
The BU main geographic “area” will now be the same as our “Special Share” definition which is the London Boroughs of Hounslow, Richmond and Ealing..