At the beginning of December we shared the reasoning behind, and our current progress towards, the restructuring of the National League to ask for your feedback. I’m pleased to say we received some good constructive feedback, thank you to everyone that took the time to send in their thoughts! We have since consulted updated proposals with the league organisers, before discussing and agreeing final recommendations as a Canoe Polo Committee. After careful consideration over the last five months we now have a structure that we wish to implement for the winter 2017 season onwards.
Please find the league restructure document here: (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3HUJ8VLSJ4PY2JoVXc5NjdTd28/view?usp=sharing)
Please find the 2016/17 Play-off information here: (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3HUJ8VLSJ4PN1Npalhybk5QNnc/view?usp=sharing)
Some of the key factors considered in the later stages of the process following your feedback:
· Div 1 Open - playing everyone in the division and having the highest quality of competition was the priority over costs.
· Prioritising better value for money across pool costs and distance travelled in all other divisions.
· At all levels players and teams wanted to increase the number of games played at a single tournament, so you don’t "have to travel long distance to only play three games”.
It was also noted that:
· There are currently no Youth leagues running. To encourage the development of youth competition, we will be financially supporting a new youth league on a geographical basis in a similar way that we support the ladies development league (reduced entry fees and other educational support).
· In the ladies class it is clear that the development league is still evolving, teams are not currently always willing to take automatic promotion. We have listened to this; promotion will only be automatic if a development team wins two years in a row.
o However, as there are currently only 9 teams in Ladies Div 1 league we would like to strongly encourage one more team to make 10. If we cannot encourage another entry, then we will consider drafting a team consisting of stronger players from across the development division. These players would also continue to play with their own teams in the development league. We will keep you posted on this once entries are received.
Finally, a crucial consideration was that this restructure did not penalise Clubs within the current promotion/relegation provisions and that the weekend in July become obsolete from the advertised playoffs. Therefore:
· We have kept 10 teams in Div 1 and increased Div 2 to 12 teams in each of the leagues, promotion and relegation between Div 1 and Div 2 will be exactly the same.
· Between Div 2 to 3: all 1st and 2nd placed teams in Div 3 will be promoted and will no longer be required to play-off (Yay I hear them say). We will organize for teams to play each other if they wish to on that weekend.
· Between Div 4 to 3: All 1st placed teams in Div 4 will be promoted. The 9th placed div 3 and 2nd placed Div 4 teams will play-off for the final Div 3 place. This is only for this season to achieve the right number of teams in each league and normal promotion and relegation will be implemented from the 2017 / 2018 season. After careful consideration this is the only promotion process we have had to alter. Please refer to the document for further details on who will be involved in the play-off.
Thank you to all the paddlers, league organisers and committee members who have all given their opinions and views on how they would like things to change and improve. All the options have been discussed by the committee on numerous conference calls to ensure we are implementing a new structure with minimum impact whilst achieving our aims of increasing participation, improving the quality of British polo and delivering better value for money.