Answers to member queries ahead of Virtual AGM

23rd September 2020

Answers to member queries ahead of Virtual AGM

Due to Volleyball England’s 2020 AGM taking place online, voting members – that refers to clubs that affiliated to the sports body for the 2019/20 season – were given the option of submitting questions ahead of the meeting to be answered on the website.

Below is a list of all of the questions that were asked.

 

What governance procedure allowed Sue Storey to end the 2019-20 National Volleyball League season early? And what was the rationale?

In accordance with the framework document, certain responsibilities are delegated from the Board to the CEO through the job description and the scheme of delegation. The CEO has the delegated authority to manage the organisation on all matters other than those reserved to the Board. Under the scheme of delegation, the CEO also has powers to act in cases of emergency or extreme urgency - this includes appropriate actions to protect people.

In this particular case the CEO acted on Government guidance. Given the fluid and evolving situation the CEO had been in regular contact with the Board, remainder of the SMT and the Competitions Working Group in anticipation of a decision such as this being required. The CEO has continued to liaise with each of these stakeholders on an ongoing and regular basis whilst the pandemic has persisted also.

 

What is Volleyball England’s view on the outcome of the decision to charge junior players a £15 registration fee? What were the entries by gender and age group for 2019-20; and the similar figures for the previous three years please?

Almost 700 players registered with Volleyball England for junior competitions in 2019-20. This figure would have been higher had the U15 Last 8s and the Inter Regional Championships gone ahead. Both competitions were cancelled as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

Junior Competition Team Entries were as follows for the last three years.

U15s

Girls: 36 (17/18); 26 (18/19); 21 (19/20)

Boys: 27 (17/18); 21 (18/19); 18 (19/20)

Total: 63 (17/18); 47 (18/19); 39 (19/20)

U16s

Girls: 33 (17/18); 30 (18/19); 25 (19/20)

Boys: 25 (17/18); 19 (18/19); 23 (19/20)

Total: 58 (17/18); 49 (18/19); 48 (19/20)

U18s

Girls: 28 (17/18); 28 (18/19); 23 (19/20)

Boys: 22 (17/18); 21 (18/19); 18 (19/20)

Total: 50 (17/18); 49 (18/19); 41 (19/20)

Total junior competition team entries: 171 (17/18); 145 (18/19); 128 (19/20)

There’s no escaping there has been a downward trend in the number of teams entering junior competitions in recent years.

We know that a shake-up of the U15s competition in 2018, cancellations brought about by Covid-19 and the introduction of junior player registration fees in 2019 have all impacted entries and believe us when we say that we want this to change.

While we must work within our financial constraints, that doesn’t mean that we can’t adapt and learn, and that’s exactly what we’re planning to do for the year ahead.

By working closely with the Children and Young People Working Group, we have agreed to lower the individual registration fee for juniors from £15 to £5 for 2020/21. The impact of this decision will be reviewed at the end of the season. There will also be no team entry fee for U15s Tier 2 entering the first event of our junior competitions.

 

Whether it’s to fit in weekend jobs, shift working or family responsibilities, teams have to plan in advance of fixtures. When the day of play is changed and it adversely affects a team, they are not being afforded the same consideration by NGB, which would be inherently unfair. How does this sit with VE equality policies? How would it sit with a challenge of indirect discrimination as women would likely be the majority impacted as they may have more weekend jobs and caring responsibilities?

Club feedback, data and insight all play an important role in Volleyball England’s decision-making.

To this end we surveyed all NVL teams to ask their preferences for matches for the 2020/21 season. Responses were received from 135 teams, the vast majority. One question we asked was what their preferred date for home fixtures was and the results were 37 for Saturday, 54 for Sunday and 44 for either. This was used to create the draft schedule of fixtures. As soon as we can determine a start date for the season, we will issue dates for all fixtures and these will be finalised at a fixtures meeting approximately two weeks later giving teams the maximum possible notice to plan.

We believe this meets our stance on equal opportunities, our values and guiding principles.

 

Division 3, does it really need two appointed officials per match?

Based on team feedback, we believe that conforming to stricter regulations and protocols, such as appointing officials, is something we should be doing for a Volleyball England competition.

 

Can Volleyball England propose a complete solution on how to end the upcoming NVL season if the season is cut short due to the impact of unforeseeable circumstances?

If the season is cut short and less than approximately 80% of matches are played, then the intention is to declare the season null and void and to have no promotion and relegation. If more than 80% of match have been played, the league would be finalised by awarding draws to all unplayed fixtures and splitting the points.

 

How would Volleyball England overcome local lockdowns where teams in certain regions would not be able to finish the season as scheduled?

VE are currently planning a full NVL league season with each team playing home and away.

1) There are several contingency plans that are outlined as follows:

  1. A few matches are not able to be played due to local circumstances
  2. Teams to re-arrange using normal processes
  3. There are two weekends that have been held free of fixtures to allow catch-up
  4. If the matches cannot be completed, the un-played matches will be awarded as a draw and the points split between the teams

Further details will be included in the regulations issued when teams enter.

2) At the end of the season, as long as sufficient games have been played (approximately 80%) then promotion and relegation will apply.

 

For the coming season, will VE consider editing the corresponding relegation regulation which strongly biased toward upper-division teams, in order to allow your CWG members to have a better choice? How would VE provide equal opportunities for all teams at all levels if there won't be any playoffs?

We have clarified the process at the end of the season (when promotion and relegation apply) that the first step is to apply promotion and relegation as laid out in the regulations.

The second step is, where possible, play-offs to occur to fill any gaps in divisions that remain (either from relegation or teams withdrawing). In the event that play-offs are not possible, there are two scenarios:

1) The teams have not completed all of their matches - in this case we give the benefit of the doubt to the higher teams.

2) The teams have completed all of their matches - in this case we give the benefit to the lower teams.

If teams drop out after the play-offs but before the fixture are created, then we will favour teams from higher divisions to fill gaps.

 

How to join the AGM

Our AGM will be broadcast via Microsoft Teams and is open for anyone to attend. Use the following link on Saturday, 26th September to join: https://bit.ly/2YRMdkp

If you intend to watch the AGM, you are advised to download the Microsoft Teams app onto your computer, tablet or mobile phone ahead of time and to test the link included above to see if you can enter the waiting lobby. 

Meeting protocol will be explained at the start of the event.

If you have any questions about or for the AGM, or need some help tuning in, please email governance@volleyballengland.org

 

Please note, all questions were answered before the Government's announcement on restrictions to indoor sports on 22nd September.

Answers to member queries ahead of Virtual AGM