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The 1990 Pétanque Leage

A Vision of the Future Development of Pétanque


The Sport of Petanque has reached a crossroad in it's development, especially here in the East Midlands.

Already we have two camps, both firmly entrenched in Leicestershire, both playing the same game, but sadly, both appearing to be pursuing different routes to the same end - namely, Pétanque for all.

Whilst I appreciate there are a number of differences between the two camps, I do not feel that the prospect of a unification has entirely disappeared.

If we could come together in the near future it would give our sport in this area the fresh impetus that it so badly needs.

Surely, the way ahead would be better served by a common policy of development on a broad front, rather than the continuance of the current haphazard and somewhat conflicting lines of advance.

Commonsense must prevail and as there is room within the structure of our sport for all sensible discussions and ideas, we must endeavour to get the varying factions together for the benefit of the sport.

To advance our sport it is necessary to have National, Regional and Local bodies to promote and monitor progress, and also to express the ideas and feelings of the sport's participants.

These various bodies are already in place, and it would seem logical to make the best use of these established structures.

Some would argue that they are not always in line with one's personal views of where the sport should be heading, but surely this is what being part of a democratic environment entails - the right to have different points of view!

Having agreed to disagree, the hard part is to find common ground from which we can advance the sport beyond it's current boundaries.

My personal theory is that within our sport there is room for different levels of people and skills and that anyone taking up the game should be able to find or attain a personal level which would provide maximum enjoyment.

Unfortunately, these days, nothing comes for free, and like it or not, there is a price (or value) on these varying levels.

The bodies that control the sport should be actively engaged in seeking financial assistance (Sponsorship) for the game, which will provide an incentive to better players to improve their game, and at the same time, enable social players to continue at their own pace for relevant rewards.

As a region, we are virtually alone in our pursuit of 'Sport for All' with licensed and unlicensed players competing side by side.

To assist its growth, the British Pétanque Association should recognise the reality of this situation and re-introduce a tiered licensing structure to enable all participants membership of the B.P.A. at whatever level is deemed sufficient to encourage continued organised involvement in Pétanque.

The present criteria for a recognised club of three fully licensed players could continue, with the remaining club members being B.P.A. members at their relevant level of involvement.

I feel that it is important to make a commitment to the game, because that is where the future of our sport would seem to be. If this commitment was material (financial) then members would become more involved and expect more involvement at their chosen level.

Perhaps we could have National, Regional, County, Local, Junior, Novice and even Social licences, each with clearly defined areas of usage and fees to match.

This type of tiered membership would enable all grass-roots players to belong to the B.P.A. without the resentment currently evident of the 'many paying for the gifted few'.

For the B.P.A. it would mean a drastic increase in membership and a substantial increase in revenue, with the membership figures better reflecting the numbers involved in the sport than is currently shown.

For the membership, it would mean more and better competitions, many more clubs, which might indirectly mean less travelling for 'local' players and a more widespread growth of Pétanque.

This growth would also help to create more county bodies, which could eventually lead to some form of Nationwide County League similar to those of other sports.

Then truly we could say that Pétanque was a family sport available to all!!

Mike Webb
Public Relations Officer
East Midlands Region
February 1993

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