History of the SCA Constitution

The SCA archives contain the original correspondence between representatives of the Scottish Croquet clubs and the CA Secretary, then Mrs V.C. Gasson, with a letter dated 6 August 1968 from Robert Milne (Edinburgh), John Alexander (Glasgow) and Dr A.M. Brown (Glenochil) outlining the reasons behind the desire to set up a “Scottish Croquet Council” or the Scottish Branch of the Croquet Association.  Mrs Gasson replied on 23 September stating that the proposal would be put to the CA Council Meeting on 26 October (and congratulating Bill Spalding on winning the 1968 All-England).  As it turned out, the CA Finance and General Purposes Committee met on 16 November, and supported the Scottish proposal (and a post-script to the Milne letter referred to by Mrs Casson but not recorded on the SCA file copy), on its submission to Council, now scheduled for 23 November.  Finally comes a hand-written letter from Col. D.M.C. Prichard, Chairman of CA Council, dated 26 November 1968, confirming that the plans were approved unanimously, apart from the use of the word “Council” in the title.  However, the suggestion to change the title of the All-England was not accepted!  The dates for the Edinburgh Week (25 – 30 August 1969) were approved too.

So the Scottish Croquet Committee (a CA sub-committee) was formed in 1969, and a letter from Mrs Gasson dated 6 February confirms that she will forward the Committee’s Constitution to the Editor of the Gazette for publication – that version is not found in the SCA archives.  By 1973 it had become obvious that the new sport required financial help if it was to thrive, and the Scottish Sports Council could not help any sport that was not wholly controlled within Scotland and independent from any other body in England or elsewhere in the British Isles.  So drafts of a Constitution were prepared for agreement within Scottish clubs, and with the Croquet Association, because the CA Council, and its Annual General Meeting, had to approve any proposal for Scotland to secede from CA control whilst retaining friendly relations. 

The SCA archives contain drafts of a Constitution and comments from several sources, commencing in March 1973, and it is interesting to see how little the 2008 Constitution differs in principle from the original final version submitted to the CA, apart from the fact that a nominated representative from the CA was an ex officio member of the Executive Committee.  The archives also contain a letter from Vandeleur Robinson, now the CA Secretary, and the proposal to be put to the 1974 CA AGM, after approval had been given at Council on 17 November 1973.  Setting up this Committee required changes to the CA Rules, with such changes being finalised at the CA Council meeting of 9 February 1974, and being included in the Agenda for the 1974 AGM which was published in the Gazette in April 1974.  It was also decided that from 1974, Edinburgh’s Tournament would continue to be published in the Fixtures Book, but would not attract CA Tournament levy and tribute from the entry fees.

The next significant change to the Constitution came in 1987 with the formation of the World Croquet Federation the previous year, because to become one of the founder member countries, the Scottish Croquet Association had to be wholly independent, without direct influence or interference from any other country, so one essential change was to remove the CA representative from the Executive Committee (it is not obvious how many times such a representative attended Executive Committee meetings, although by March 1977 there is correspondence from the CA noting that the representative post existed, and suggesting possible names).  Another change was to ally the definition of croquet with that used by WCF, i.e. to cover all mallet sports, not merely Association Croquet and Golf Croquet.  Also by now, the financial year start had changed from 1 January to the current 16 October, presumably to coincide with Scottish Sports Council requirements.

Further changes were approved at AGMs in 1993, 1995 and 1997.  The 2008 Annual Meeting approved a more general revision to the wording, without changing the bulk of its provisions, apart from limiting Associate Membership to those living in Scotland, or to others qualified and declared eligible to play for Scotland according to WCF Regulations.  The 2010 Annual Meeting approved changes to Section 2 to include an Equity Statement (2b) and to permit croquet sections of multi-sports clubs to join (2a). 

Bruce Rannie