The objectives of the European Customs Sports Association (ECSA) are:

  • To encourage sports and recreation between Customs personnel of European countries;
  • To facilitate friendships and links between sports associations and sports bodies for Customs and associated personnel within European countries;
  • To encourage mutual understanding between Customs officials, strengthen team spirit and build a positive image of Customs.

Events, and thus event organisers, play an essential part in ECSA meeting its objectives. To help you in organising your event we have produced the enclosed stationery pack.  If you require any further help please contact your country’s ECSA representative or ECSA President, who is currently Jan Hlinka.

This guide has two purposes. First, it hopes to serve as a guide to people who have no previous experience in organising events. Secondly, it hopes to bring to the attention of organisers the particular ECSA aspects of events, where ECSA status has been granted or an application made.

Guidance Notes

Planning the Competition

To run a successful competition it is essential that you are prepared and organised well in advance.  The following points will help you before, during and after the event.


Prior to proposing a new event in the ECSA calendar, it is vital to canvas the member countries for levels of interest in the sport.

The proposed date, format and venue of the competition should be included in the proposal. This will reduce the chance of cancellation if the level of interest is established before an event is set up.


Arrange a day and time that will attract the maximum number of entries, avoiding other events where possible. Advice can be sought from the Secretary.

Avoid dates when major events in your sport are being held and also peak times for your administration’s business.

Consider the traditional seasons for your sport and that many potential competitors will be involved in other leagues.

Try to allow enough time for all competitors to get plenty of games.  Play round robin when possible, rather than straight knockout; people will have come a long way and will want to play a number of times rather than just once.


Venues should be suitable for your event and, where possible, situated in reasonable proximity to major transport links; you will be more likely to get a good attendance if potential competitors can travel easily and cheaply to your venue. Health & Safety is obviously of paramount importance when considering where to hold your event. Always obtain a copy of the venue’s H&S Risk Assessment and satisfy yourself that it covers all aspects of the event that you will be holding. If unsure about any aspect, liaise with the venue’s H&S Manager and keep your administration and ECSA informed.

Consider the security of ECSA colleagues attending a competition in a public place. Some participants may have covert roles so cannot be photographed or named in the public domain.

If appropriate, consider running an ECSA event alongside your country’s national championships to reduce the burden of costs and organisation.

ECSA status

This must be sought in writing as soon as possible after the event is proposed. The date must be for at least the following year in order that final approval can be given at the AGM, events MUST not be publicised as official ECSA competitions without the agreement of the AGM. A well-planned business case will help approval for the event.


Arrange transport to and from both the accommodation and the venue for participants. Participants must be advised well in advance if they will be picked up from the airport, train station, etc. If they will not, they should be given clear directions as to how to get to their hotel etc.

Booking and funding events

When you have received confirmation that the costings are acceptable and have fixed a date for your event, make your booking in plenty of time before the event. If exceptional circumstances force cancellation or revised arrangements, let ECSA and the participants know immediately. Remember, competitors will be making their arrangements well in advance.

Event Invitations

Let the ECSA President know as soon as arrangements are confirmed. Write out to administration DGs as soon as possible, copying the letter to each country’s ECSA representative. Early notification maximises the chance of a good attendance at the event. If inviting VIPs, make sure to do so well in advance – their diaries are usually booked up months ahead.

Invitations should be issued at least six months prior to the date of competition and may be initially made by informal email with the formal invitation and entry forms included.  You should also include a note that entry to ECSA events gives explicit permission to publish photographs unless otherwise stated by the participant (due to security issues).

The ECSA website can also advertise the event so send details and the entry forms to the Webmaster.


You must ensure that adequate insurance is in place. This can be the venue’s insurance (check that it is adequate) or your own insurance. Event invitations should include note that participants must have Personal Insurance cover and you will need to have procedures in place to check that they have done so.


Subvention can be applied for by member countries who are organising an event for the first time, or by member countries who are organising an event which has not been laid on by ECSA before. An application form is included in this guide (Form 1) along with a payment form for approved applications (Form 2).

Before the competition

Draw up a checklist for yourself.  The following points may help:

  1. Confirm the booking of the facilities.
  2. Consider the costs involved and whether an application for subvention is appropriate.
  3. Check the booking again before the day to ensure that all your requirements will be available.
  4. As soon as the details of the competition have been confirmed arrange for the publicity and entry forms to be prepared.
  5. Book referees or umpires.  Check that they are still available nearer the date.
  6. Book Reporter/Photographer for the event. Confirm any colleagues unwilling to be photographed because of covert roles.
  7. If you require help running the event, contact your administration and/or ECSA. ECSA may know of people in other countries who might be willing to help.
  8. Order the trophies.
  9. Ensure that any perpetual trophy is returned in time for the competition.
  10. Arrange for someone to present the trophies – Regional Director/administration DG, ECSA representative.
  11. Prepare the draw sheet.

Posters and website

If you are able to prepare posters advertising the event and send these to potential participant countries, this should help to generate good publicity. Ensure that the full address of the venue is shown on the form. Another idea is to set up a website for the event or better still, user the ECSA website (contact the ECSA Webmaster for details).

Entry forms

E-mail entry forms should be sent to ECSA member countries representatives, who will distribute to potential participants. These should be issued with the invitations at least six months prior to the date of competition.

Entry fees

These should be considered and notified well in advance. Ensure that finance arrangements are highlighted and that payment for group bookings is made at the time of submission of the entry. For hotel bookings to be paid by individuals, the liability lies with the individual and payment should not be made by the organising country. ECSA will not pay any out of pocket expenses but will give assistance to the organising country to recover outstanding monies, including suspension or expulsion from ECSA.

Always try to get payments by bank transfer, making it clear that any costs involved are the responsibility of the person paying. Consider which currency you will be working in, the Euro is used in most, but not all, ECSA countries.


Arrange for good trophies and medals to be awarded; they make an important contribution to whether the event lives on in people’s minds afterwards (and thus to the success of future events). If the same trophy is handed out annually, make sure it is returned in plenty of time.

Promotional items including polo shirts for organisers can be obtained from your ECSA representative, subject to availability.

Details of entrants

Retain details of all those who took part in the competition.  These should be kept with your own records so that a database of previous entrants can be built up. Make sure to obtain emergency contact details from all entrants.

On the day

  1. Arrive well before the designated start time so that you can greet the competitors and ensure that all the agreed facilities and equipment are available.
  2. Ensure that late entrants complete an entry form if they have not already done so.
  3. Collect any outstanding entry fees.
  4. Complete the draw sheet.
  5. Explain the format and the rules of the competition. Be prepared to answer any questions.

After the event

Safekeeping of trophies

Some trophies are only kept for a year, before being returned for the next event. If this is the case, you will need to make this clear to the trophy winner(s) and keep a record of who has the trophy and where it will be kept. The winners will need to arrange return of the trophy in good time before the next event. Be sure to send them a reminder in plenty of time.

Event accounts

Make sure that arrangements for the keeping of accounts are clear well in advance. Those responsible for the expenditure of monies should be reminded to keep proper receipts and to submit them promptly. Arrange for the accounts to be independently audited, so that you can clearly demonstrate the financial propriety of your event.


Most ECSA member countries like to know when any of their members have done well in competitions. 

Please prepare an event report with photographs for your administration’s website and for the ECSA website. A template for the event report is Form 3.

Event evaluation

Was the event a success? Did the participants go home happy? If you can, hand out Event Evaluation sheets to all the participants and collect in as many as possible before the competitors leave.

TO DO LIST                                                                                                                


To Whom


Cost estimates

Event Treasurer


Book facilities



Competition planning check list

Retain and review


Publicity details

Web Master and Member States DGs


Medals and Trophy Order

Trophy company


Details of entrants

Retain and destroy after the event


Competition results

ECSA representatives


Subvention Application (Form 1)

ECSA Treasurer


Subvention Payment Form (Form 2)

ECSA Treasurer


Expenses form

Event Treasurer


Event evaluation