Having considered all of the information available to us, the committee has the following coronavirus update (Please share with your club):
The committee has voted to extend the 19/20 season through the 20/21 winter and beyond if required, resulting in the cancellation of the full 20/21 national league season.
This difficult decision has been reached for the following reasons:
• At this moment the committee does not believe it will be permitted or possible to arrange any national league competitions until at least September 2020.
• Pool bookings for September 2020 onwards are already proving extremely challenging with many pools currently closed and not contactable.
• There remains a considerable possibility of further national or regional lockdowns, which would further impact any tournaments arranged.
• Debating the ramifications of cancelling the current season, it is extremely difficult to find a coherent route forward that does not result in misgivings given the imbalance in completion between leagues.
Given these factors, organizing the entirety of a new national league season in the current environment would be extremely difficult and uncertain. Voiding the full 20-21 season therefore affords us the best possible chance to complete the remaining tournaments from the 19-20 season and allow for normal promotion/relegation to occur prior to 21-22 whilst mitigating any further coronavirus impacts. These tournaments will only be run if it is deemed safe to do so.
Ramifications and additional announcements:
Whilst these remaining tournaments are our priority, we are conscious that this will leave some teams with one or no tournaments planned over this coming winter. For this reason, we will be endeavouring, where safe and desired, to host further tournaments to facilitate competitive polo, in particular for the Division 1 sides (both Open and Women) who completed the 2019-20 season. These could take the format of 4-a-side competitions or more competitions being facilitated outdoors. Furthermore, regional leagues may also be running and we expect to run both the British Open and National Championships in 2021. Clearly if a best-case scenario does occur moving forward, we will look to facilitate as much polo as possible!
European Club Championships (October 2020):
If the European Championships are allowed to go ahead by the relevant organisations (Local Government, ECA, Regional Council) and British Canoeing allow the teams to travel, then following the cancellation of the National Championship competition the top two sides from each of the National Leagues would therefore qualify to compete:
Open: FoA and Meridian.
Women: FoA and Meridian.
With the cancellation of the 2020-21 season, qualification for the next ECC is likely to come from the top two positions at the National Championships in 2021 (TBC).
To avoid grades expiring whilst they are currently unable to be assessed, all refereeing qualifications will be extended by a year from how they are currently displayed on the referee database.