FEATURE: Jarvis talks Midland League

As the season draws to a close there has been considerable interest shown from across the country regarding the operation of the Midland League under the TLI banner. Has it been a success or has it meant a major upheaval? Leicester’s administrator Tim Jarvis explains his experience when he spoke to us this week.

Tim said, “It was probably a misconception at the beginning that the Midlands had decided to opt out of British Cycling altogether. In fact all of the Midlands clubs have remained affiliated to BC; it is simply the competition that has been operated under a different banner.

“It’s fair to say that from a spectators point of view there is little change, we still have four riders turning left over four laps. However young children are no longer allowed to race against adults, probably no bad thing. To cater for this the ML introduced a junior league for under 14’s, the clubs being able to decide upon the formula depending on numbers available on the day.

“From a club administration perspective there are a few changes. Clubs must register events with TLI, however there are no fees payable by the club. Licences now go directly to the riders as opposed to the BC system of them being distributed by the secretary.

“The major difference riders have noticed on a race day is that they must sign in, this is for insurance purposes. However there is no £1.50 race levy to pay. A senior licence is £10 and under 18’s are free, however day licences whilst free to U18’s cost £5 for seniors.

“The only services TLI provide are the issuing of licences and insurance cover. Apart from the U14’s rule TLI have simply allowed the league to operate as it sees fit. TLI have no interest in governing cycle speedway.

“The price for this freedom is the lack of a large administration to organise events. I think it’s fair to say that the Midlands pretty much organise themselves anyway, maybe other regions would be similar.

“Clearly it’s this lack of a large administration that makes TLI a cheaper option. However, it’s possible that not everyone would be happy to be totally in charge of their own destiny. After all if it doesn’t work you can’t place the blame at the BC doorstep, BC can longer be the default “bad guys” – the buck stops very firmly with you.

“Some will feel that operating within the confines of a large organisation will always be preferable to essentially running events independently, no matter what extra freedom or financial benefit that may bring. Others may feel that they can stage events perfectly well themselves. The choice is out there to make.”