Update on Volleyball England's junior competitions
6th October 2020
On Tuesday, 22nd September, as the Government announced new restrictions for indoor sport to help curb the rise in Covid-19 cases, we were busy putting the final touches to our own announcement on junior competitions for 2020/21.
Combined with a growing concern over a second wave of the virus, the new rules have forced us to put a pause on our plans and go back to the drawing board.
The newly formed Junior Competitions Working Group (JCWG) had planned to replace traditional knock out competitions with two-tiered grand prix-style formats that allowed for more flexibility should local lockdowns prevent fixtures from taking place. These proposals included reduced registration fees.
Newly recruited volunteers Howard Ainsworth, Junior Competitions Lead, and Pete Bragg, Children and Young People Competition Development Coordinator, as well as Nick Shaffery, Children and Young People Lead, were key to finalising these plans. They worked in conjunction with the Competitions Working Group member Di Hollows, former Junior Competitions Lead, and in consultation with the volleyball community to get to this stage.
In all the U15, U16 and U18 competitions, the plan was for Tier 1 to be open to teams that compete at the highest level in this country while Tier 2 would cater for less experienced teams. Teams themselves would decide which tier they wished to enter.
The plan was for all junior teams to compete at three different ‘events’ this season, with each event being organised as a day-long competition for that age group.
For teams in Tier 1 of the U15, U16 or U18 competitions, events one and two would be hosted by teams and based in either the north, south, east or west of the country. Event three was going to be hosted by Volleyball England at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering. For teams in Tier 2, events were to be hosted by teams by region to encourage less experienced teams to compete.
However, that format is being reviewed to ensure that Volleyball England is promoting competitions for the right number of teams and players coming together at a venue.
Volleyball England wants children and young people to be able to play competitive volleyball this year and with the help of the JCWG and Competitions Working Group, will create a flexible solution that helps the sport to retain players and recruit new ones.
In any new format, some events will be hosted by clubs. We will aim to keep competitions on the originally planned days, which you can find under each of the specific competition tabs here.
We would be grateful if clubs can look at their ability to host on the dates advertised in the competitions they may look to enter.
If you can provisionally book a venue, please do so, but only if they can be cancelled at a later point. We will be in touch in due course to confirm the details of our new plan and to work with hosts to safely deliver junior competitions.