This seems an appropriate moment for a more serious take on this subject given some recent comments received. First however let me suggest that if you have no real interest in this topic--and why should you?--feel free to skip this one. Honestly I wouldn't blame you. Whatever ultimately happens is unlikely to effect the great majority of tournament players much one way or another--except to perhaps cost you a few extra bucks in the long run but that's pretty much inevitable in this sport. Whatever happens probably won't effect me either, so why bother?
It's no bother really. I discovered a long time ago that if I was interested in intelligent conversations about competitive paintball I would need to start them myself. So here we are.
Let me clarify a couple of things too before I get down to it. I am not opposed to the idea of international paintball cooperation based on a federations model. I'm not even opposed to the notion of a *real* World Cup that has national teams competing against one another. Nor am I opposed to someone else leading the federated parade (wherever its going.)
But I do have questions. (Another thing I learned a long time ago is that those ostensibly in charge generally don't like answering questions. It makes them feel accountable.)
Before I ask my questions though a little history review is probably in order for those unfamiliar with the last decade or so of major league paintball and the efforts to popularize, legitimize and televise competitive paintball. (Because all three efforts share one thing in common; to deliver the lion's share of the winnings to the winners. And if you hijack the game in the process it's easy to rationalize that it's being done for the general good when it's gonna be so good for you.) NPPL 1.0 (Pure Promotions) envisioned their league as the center of the paintball universe and ambassador of the game to the world and strove mightily to gain a foothold in TVland. To an extent that was fine, their dime their risk, but if it had worked it would have left everyone else on the outside looking in, including the pro teams that are the product the game is selling. The NXL effort was modeled after professional American sports leagues so the status of the teams and the players was resolved but, once again, a limited group controlled everything. (Of course at the moment paintball succeeds on TV the "winners" lose all interest in amateur paintball completely. And at the end of the day the great majority of players aren't affected much one way or the other.) The federation model being espoused by the EPBF (primarily) is a different animal altogether. If it is accepted and continues to draw in countries, tournament series, etc. it necessarily draws in the vast majority of the competitive players as well--whether they like it or not. The counter to this is that the federations function on multiple levels and operate as democratic organizations thus projecting the will of the majority if nothing else. Besides, much of the world's sporting organizations are structured this way so paintball should follow suit.
But there may be differences between appearances and reality and that is where my questions begin.
When, where and how many European national federations gathered to agree on the formation and structure of the EPBF?
Which European national federations voted in the current executive board? When and for how long a term?
What are the by-laws (charter) of the EPBF? Where can the public or at least member federations access them?
Has the EPBF contacted any of the international umbrella organizations (like Sport Accord) about membership?
That's just for starters.
Is it possible despite an unconventional beginning that the effort to build international federations is completely on the up and up? Of course.
Is it possible that the EPBF is being used to give an imprimatur of legitimacy to the Millennium Series given that control of the EPBF is dominated by MS board members? Could be.
Is it possible that both are simultaneously true? Or that those used to holding the reigns of power resist giving them up?
Call me cynical. (I've been called much worse.) But what is the EPBF really beyond a website claiming to be the final authority in competitive paintball in Euroland run by the same guys who have been running things for years?