The Newfoundland and Labrador Five-Pin Bowling Association (NL5PBA) is in a state of limbo after being suspended by the sport’s national governing body over non-payment of membership dues and tournament fees.
And although there has yet been no official connection to that suspension, The Telegram has also learned the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is investigating the finances of the provincial association.
Ken Byrne, past-president of the NL5PBA, confirmed Monday the Canadian Five-Pin Bowlers Association (C5PBA) informed the provincial body in mid-June that if the money owed — more than $20,000 — was not paid within a month the NL5PBA would be suspended.
Byrne said the money has not been paid and the suspension is in effect.
Attempts to contact provincial five-pin bowling association president Lee Escott Monday regarding the issue were unsuccessful. A message left Monday afternoon with the C5PBA at its headquarters in Ottawa was not returned. (Note: Monday was a civic holiday in much of Ontario.)
While Byrne also confirmed knowledge of the police investigation into the provincial association’s books, he said he was unable to comment on the specifics of what is being looked at or what — if anything — has been discovered to date.
“I’m disappointed, very disappointed, I’ll say that much,” said Byrne, who feels the focus has to be having the provincial body reinstated by the C5PBA.
“It’s being worked on through the national association and SNL (Sport Newfoundland and Labrador), but if (reinstatement) doesn’t happen, it means we won’t be able to participate in national championships, and that would be a shame considering the talent of our bowlers and the work they put into the game.”
Byrne added that until the question of the NL5PBA’s status is nailed down, he could not see the point of regional roll-offs that would normally lead up to provincials and then to 2015 national championships. He also said the issue would not affect Youth Bowling Council activities, since YBC operates under a separate umbrella.
Sport Newfoundland and Labrador executive director Troy Croft says SNL’s involvement is focused on the insurance necessary for the legal operation of the bowling association, and all sports governing bodies belonging to SNL.
“We’re holding the insurance policy, but the insurer can get nervous about any uncertainty, and without insurance, (NL5PBA) would not be able to operate,” said Croft.
“What we’re doing is working to determine how the bowling association can satisfy the requirements of the insurer.”
Byrne had been the provincial association’s president until September of last year. As past-president, he is officially a member of the NL5PBA executive, but said he has had little involvement at the executive level since last fall.
As for whether the present executive will be able to proceed and operate as constituted, Byrne offered no comment, but reiterated the immediate need to work at having the NL5PBA return to the good graces of the national five-pin governing body.
“As I said before, this is very disappointing,” said Byrne, “but it is extremely important for us to take the necessary steps to deal with this and to work with our debtors to rectify this.
“Given a chance, I’m sure we can rectify this and be ready to compete nationally next year.
“It would be a shame if we can’t straighten this out as quickly as possible, considering how far the sport has come in our province in the last number of years. We grew from 660 (registered) members in 2009 to 1,750. We’re succeeding nationally, winning medals.
“Our bowlers need to know that we’re working for them on solving this.”