Player registration: why it’s needed
6th August 2019
The 2019-20 season will see the introduction of player registration fees for Volleyball England junior competitions, the Student Cup and sitting volleyball competitions.
With volleyball facing a £136k drop in central funding next year, this is a vital step to protecting the sustainability of these competitions. While these competitions will continue to be subsidised, the deficit at which they operate needs to be reduced to ensure they remain viable.
Closing the funding gap
Ahead of the reduction in subsidy, the Volleyball England Board and senior management team completed a full cost analysis of all projects and programmes to gauge their sustainability. This meant any measures to protect their sustainability could be put in place before the reduction in funding came in.
This has already seen programmes reduce their reliance on subsidies, including the National Talent Pathway, which has seen the price for athletes to attend camps rise from £20 to £90, and the HEVO Conference, which was free in previous years but is now priced at up to £250 per delegate.
Junior competitions, the Student Cup and sitting volleyball competitions operate at large deficits, which were documented in the player registration announcement.
Volleyball England is constantly looking at ways to be more cost effective and the below table details the costs associated with these competitions:
|U18||U16||U15||Inter Regional Champs||Student Cup||Sitting Grand Prix||Sitting Cup||Totals|
|Officials - fees and expenses||£1,020.00||£1,020.00||£1,020.00||£1,860.00||£4,460.00||£4,700.00||£460.15||£14,540.15|
|Expenses - staff and volunteers||£100.00||£100.00||£100.00||£150.00||£700.00||£1,150.00|
|Accommodation - staff, volunteers and officials||£224.00||£224.00||£224.00||£1,512.00||£2,430.00||£4,614.00|
*These costs do not include the expenditure of hosting the age group finals and Sitting Volleyball Grand Prix final at the National Cup Finals weekend. The Cup Finals has a separate budget.
Using the National Volleyball Centre sees Volleyball England gain a preferential rate and flexibility of space, storage and time when it comes to hosting events, as well as the benefit of a partnership with the Holiday Inn Express to provide local accommodation. More cost effective venues are yet to be found, as competitions coordinator Jonathan Moore reflected in the Annual Report.
The total staffing cost reflects all the time that is invested into the administration and organisation of these competitions throughout the year as well as their physical delivery.
“While we will continue to look for cost savings, it was clear to the senior management team and Board that reducing expenditure alone would not be enough to protect these competitions’ sustainability,” explained Volleyball England’s Sam Jamieson. “Increased income was needed to preserve the longevity of these competitions and ensure Volleyball England can provide an outlet for these important groups to enjoy volleyball competition at a national level.”
Introduction of player registration fees
While players in the National Volleyball League and on the Volleyball England Beach Tour already pay a player registration fee, the new registrations mean that everyone playing at national level is contributing to the sport.
These competitions will continue to be subsidised but the player registration will help to make them more financial sustainable:
Age-group competitions: £15 per player
Student Cup: £10 per player
Sitting volleyball competitions: £25 per player
The Board criteria for setting the level of player registration was to a) make a marked improvement on the sustainability of these competitions and b) ensure this still provided participants with value for money.
The competitions were reviewed on the basis of how many matches could be accessed from the outset of the competition: 3-8 matches for each age group competition; 6-7 for the Inter Regional Championships; 15-27 matches for the sitting volleyball competitions; and ten matches for the Student Cup. The cost per game ranges from less than £1 per game through to a maximum of £5 per game, depending on the number of entries, the number of events attended and how far a team progresses in a knock-out competition.
“We determined that the fairest approach would be to ask all participants involved to make a small contribution to their experience of the competition rather than only asking the most successful participants to contribute a lot more,” explained Volleyball England’s Sam Jamieson.
“Volleyball England consider this to be great value for playing in national level competitions and, most importantly, will help to ensure the players can continue to enjoy these competitions moving into the future.”
One area that has been prominent in the discussion about the junior player registration fees is opportunities for young players getting into the sport.
“One thing that has become clear in the discussions is that there is a huge potential for the development of regional and local competitions at a more novice level,” says Sam.
This is something that Volleyball England does not have the capacity to deliver but needs to work with the regions and counties to see how best we can work together to develop more opportunities.”
Based on last year’s participation figures, the player registration has the potential to generate up to £25,000. This means these competitions will still be subsidised but in a much healthier position and if a surplus is ever generated on any Volleyball England product – competition or other programmes – the money is invested back into the sport.
“To maintain and drive the sport forward, Volleyball England needs to operate more as a business,” says Volleyball England chair Adam Walker. “And ultimately, our business is volleyball, so any money that is made only goes back into developing the sport.”
Consulting the membership
One question that was raised in the feedback to the player registration was why the membership wasn’t consulted about the decision.
There are such a wide variety of opinions and priorities within the volleyball community – as was witnessed in the feedback at the AGM. It would have been very difficult to gain a consensus and with the drop in central funding not too far away, taking prompt action was essential to protect these competitions’ sustainability.
The decision has been taken by our board of directors in the best interests of the whole sport and with the organisation’s current financial situation in mind. With support and feedback from relevant experts, Volleyball England will continue to take cost saving action across all of its products, services, competitions and events.