The Sports Journalists’ Association of Great Britain have agreed a ground-breaking amendment to their constitution to allow the position of chairman to be shared.
Andy Elliott and Janine Self were voted joint-chairs at the Association’s annual meeting in London on Thursday.
A two-thirds majority was required to change the rules but, in the event, the members’ vote was unanimous.
Elliott, who succeeded David Walker as chairman last year, said: “While I thoroughly enjoy the role of chairman of the SJA, it has not always been easy juggling the job with my other commitments.
“This seems a sensible solution. Janine and I have been friends for many years and we are comfortable working with each other.
“Having said that, we will again be relying very much on the ‘collegiate’ of the executive and general committee, whose support has been extraordinary over the last 12 months.”
Self, previously vice-chair, added: “As any freelance will tell you, self-employment can be unpredictable, short notice and sometimes intense. This solution will, hopefully, allow me to become more involved without compromising my availability or ability to work.
“Andy and I are very much on the same wavelength when it comes to the SJA and I’m confident we can share the responsibility for the next 12 months.”
Changes to the committee were rubber-stamped at the annual meeting at the Olde Cock Inn, Fleet Street.
Long-serving former treasurer Randall Northam and Tom Knight both stood down. Their places were taken by Press Association sports editor Ashley Broadley and cricket freelance Jon Batham.
Northam and immediate past chairman David Walker were made honorary life members in recognition of their services to the Association.
The last 12 months have also seen a change of secretary with Nick Townsend replacing long-serving Steven Downes. President Patrick Collins welcomed Townsend.
Collins said: “In the two years I have been president I have been amazed by the amount of work done by the committee. One job is especially onerous and had been done for the last 11 years by Steven Downes.
“He stood down and we have been fortunate to persuade Nick, a Fleet Street veteran and ferocious worker. We are lucky to have him.”
The Association celebrates its 70th birthday next year and there was a reminder of our historical past when former chairman Trevor Bond revealed he has a rich archive dating back to the birth of the SJA.
One of the suggestions on the table is to exhibit the material and there is also the question of a permanent home for the documents, letters and photos.
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