The key point is the compulsion involved, in insisting that everybody in a given event must be a Direct Member, or pay Game Fee. If the ECF were really convinced that it is providing a service (ie. the grading system) that people are willing to pay for, then they would simply have said that only members will get a published grade. Those who play in leagues or congresses, who are not members, will not get a grade. "Simples", as that infuriating furry little git on the TV keeps saying.
But that is not what the Egregious mob have done, because they know perfectly well that many players will not want an ECF grade, and will therefore not pay for it. So instead, they insist on being paid in respect of everybody who plays in the event, whether those people want a grading or not. The official party line, as to why they don't just withhold grades from non-members, is that "we would still have to do the work of grading the non-members' games". That is a deliberate lie, of course, in the sense that the incremental work involved is negligible - they receive from the event organiser a file of results, which they simply run through their computer - it costs almost nothing incremental to process a few extra games, and then exclude the players concerned from the published grading list.
But even if we accept this latest ECF lie, for a moment, there is an obvious solution - let organisers only submit the games involving members. Then the Egregious mob would not have ANY incremental work at all to do - they could just grade the games they are sent and publish the results. The players who do not wish to pay Ronnie and Reggie for the dubious privilege of a three-digit number after their name would still be able to play competitive chess.
"Do people send in incomplete games files, Reg?
"They do Ron, Ron, Ron, they do Ron, Ron!"
But oh no! The Brothers Grim are not going to have that, as evidenced by the following notice, which appeared on their website a few days ago:
It has come to the Board’s attention that some parts of the ECF intend to only submit the results of ECF members’ games from their league, in order to avoid Game Fee liability.
The Board wishes to clarify that the ECF will not grade any grading files from any organisation where results are selectively submitted for grading. All of the results from the league must be submitted in order for the event to be graded.
This is the confirmation, from the ECF's own collective mouth, of what I have said all along. It has nothing to do with workloads, or anything else. It is just greed, pure and simple. It is the mentality of the protection racketeer: "Anyone who plays competitive chess in this country is going to pay us for the privilege. OR ELSE!".
There is only one way to defeat bullies - stand up to them. Sadly, evidence so far suggests that the chessplayers of this country lack the requisite intestinal fortitude to stand up to the scumbags and bullies at the ECF. If that is so, then I'm afraid they deserve all they get.