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IC Council Governance Paper


“Hands across the net, friendship across the ocean”

The International Club’s Mission is to make a positive contribution to the game of tennis by:

·        fostering goodwill and friendship through international tennis competition;

·        promoting the highest standards of sportsmanship, fair play and generosity of spirit on and off the court;

·        attracting individual members who have played representative tennis and who share these ideals to its unique world fellowship of Clubs and players; and

·        promoting the growth of tennis by, among other things, encouraging the participation of the young and the less advantaged.



The IC Council is composed of all ICs in good standing, which will meet once a year at the AGM.  It has a Constitution:

The Council’s Officers are the Chairman, the Secretary and the Treasurer.

The Management of the IC Council is vested in the Executive Committee (EC), which consists of 12 members (of which three are permanent members: GB, France and the US. The Chairman chairs the EC and the Secretary and the Treasurer are members ex officio.   The EC may co-opt additional members with specific skills or responsibilities for events to either the main EC and/or its subcommittees.

The Council has a President who is elected upon nomination of the EC at the AGM and who is ex-officio a Member of the EC and the Council.  Up to three Vice-Presidents may be elected in the same manner but they have no right to vote in the affairs of the Council.

The day-to-day implementation of EC’s business plan is conducted by the Management Group (MG), which is comprised of the three officers of the Council and the current chairs of standing sub-committees (Governance/Performance, Activities, Fundraising and Philanthropy).  The MG is accountable to the EC, but empowered to make day-to-day decisions in a way consistent with the views of the EC and the Council. The Chairman chairs the MG.



Businesses to be voted on at the AGM:

·        Constitutional Issues

·        Formation of new Ics

·        Treasurer’s Report (including subscription levels) and Accounts

·        Minutes

·        Chairman’s Report (which will include summary of the Business Plan)

·        Appointments:

o       President and Vice-Presidents

o       Officers: Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer

o       Members of the Executive Committee

o       Auditors

Executive Committee Meetings:

Business for eventual ratification by the AGM:

·        Constitutional Amendments

·        Formation of New Ics

·        Nominations:

o       President and Vice- Presidents

o       Officers: Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer

o       Full EC Members (not co-optees)

·        Reporting:

o       Chairman’s Report to include a summary of the Business Plan

o       Treasurer’s Report to include Accounts and Budget

Business for ratification by the EC:

·        Appraisal of MG:

o       Current Business Plan and separate Philanthropy Business Plan

o       Reports of Standing Sub-Committees

o       Draft of new Business Plans (and SSC objectives)

o       Review of Meeting Expenses

o       Appraisal of Administrative Staff

·        Appointment of:

o       SSC Chairmen

o       Administrative Staff

·        AGM Agenda (including any informal sessions)

·        Dispute Resolution on governance issues in individual clubs



Management Group Meetings:

The business of these follows logically from the above and its responsibility for the day-to-day implementation of the Business Plan, which it has drafted and which has been approved by EC.  Its business will include the monitoring and reviewing of the work (objectives and delivery) of the sub-committees.  Its reporting obligations are outlined in the section on EC Meetings.


1)      The Business Plan as approved by the EC is the comprehensive plan for the Council including the plans of the Management Group itself and the sub-committees covering all aspects of the activities of the Council for the period ahead. The Business Plan sets objectives and identifies the person or persons responsible for delivering them.  The formal plan is approved at the November EC but on the basis of discussion of an outline draft been submitted to and discussed at the May EC Meeting – thus enabling action to be taken between May and November.

2)      Philanthropy: the formal relationship between these activities and the main activities of the Council will be the subject of a separate paper.





Increasing efficiency within ICs


Too many ICs are not adhering to the IC principles of good governance or planning succession; they do not have a good fixture list, or social and networking opportunities for their members; they are not communicating their activities and are not increasing their membership. To remedy this will require a better analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the ICs. Good practice has to become more automatic. We may need to impose sanctions in extreme cases of poor governance.


Succession Planning & Governance within ICs


It is vital that we encourage ICs to take a closer look at their governance practices to see if they are inactive in succession planning, to consider changing key committee positions, and to get younger people with specific expertise and interest levels onto their committees.  This message needs to be communicated at the AGM and advice given to certain ICs (based on their Template/Matrix returns).


Strengthening Council Committees


Additional key personnel are needed on MG/EC and sub-committees. This could be achieved by co-option or formal governance invitation. We need to analyse which ICs are doing well and target key people, as well as recruiting from specific sectors of business in order to boost creative thinking and ideas at Council level.




Every IC should have a level of membership to make it a viable member of the IC Family, able to ensure good governance and participation in matches and Council Events.  This in some ICs will mean an examination of their playing criteria for membership.  There should be a firm commitment to involving many of the recent players who have finished on the circuit but consideration should be given to a wider membership profile, which includes top coaches and juniors, as well as leaders in the world of tennis.


Increasing the Number of Matches ICs Play


Competitive play in a friendly but serious environment is the core principle – the common denominator – of the IC family. The Template/Matrix results show us that there are just not enough matches taking place. The current economic situation is not ideal but we have a good list of match options for all sizes of ICs and we need to communicate these to encourage more play.


Council Events


The IC Council’s list of activities and events is looking sparse. An injection of funding is needed to improve and guarantee Council events, particularly to guarantee regular IC Weeks. Creative formats for events, which appeal to sponsors and younger players, need to be encouraged.




We cannot rely on the current income levels if we want to guarantee regular Council Events, let alone expand our activities.  The current economic climate will be a challenging one in which to raise significant sponsorship. We need to use our networks and accesses to create exclusive funding opportunities for individual and corporate support.




The Council website is a key communication tool and an important source of material on the IC for potential sponsors/investors. The website is a major investment by the Council and it is vital we keep raising the standard of the ‘front page’ and content from ICs.



National Federations and the ITF


This is a subject both for individual ICs and the Council. ICs have to have good relations with their National Federations and the Council with the ITF.  The two are connected. At the National level, ICs need to find ways to include Federation officials (and inclusion includes membership): coaches, officials and players and not just the leadership.  ICs need to be confident that their activities will warrant the interest of their Federations.  The Council needs to develop a strategy for interaction with the ITF.


Philanthropy & Charitable (P&C) causes


These are significant for both for the image of the IC and for fundraising for the Council (eg via the Tennis Ball).  Yet few ICs are taking advantage of these opportunities.  Community corporate social responsibility is a key ingredient in corporate and government support and we need to communicate better to ICs the opportunities that exist. It is not only underdeveloped countries that can be the recipients of charitable projects.


For obvious legal reasons, there is a necessary separation between P&C activities and ‘mainstream’ IC activities.


(Note: some ICs may consciously prefer not to expand their activities to P&C but focus on mainstream IC activities.)


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