ShowGame Podcast: Episode 13 with Hannah Pendlebury and David Pryce

Nationals, UK Ultimate, WFDF, WUGC2020, WUGC2021

Sean was joined by DP and Hani to talk about the news that WUGC 2021 has been cancelled by WFDF, and that Great Britain have qualified for the World Games through the backup qualification process. It morphs into a discussion about where we might go from here and what ultimate might look like when we all come back, and ends on a pretty positive note!

RUNDOWN

The 2021 international calendar has been cleared. Is this the right call? Is this the right time? (0:28)

With whom should this decision lie, is it one for the players or should the federations be making these decisions? (4:21)

The 2022 calendar looks packed now – how tough will it be to fit all of these tournaments in? (09:51)

How much pressure does this all put on players? What’s the impact on them? (11:41)

The good news (if there is any): Great Britain is in the World Games field. Do we deserve it, and how excited should we be? Features wild speculation! (14:45)

How might qualification for WUCC 2020 work, what will ultimate look like if nationals can’t happen as normal this year? Come for the considered views, stay for *someone* moaning about Irish teams (20:00)

What benefits might we see from the new normal following the pandemic? (26:14)

Final thoughts on trying to ensure the local set-up isn’t London-centric, and trying to harness the social trend of people leaving London, a ‘sinkhole’ according to one guest (31:33)

UKU response to WFDF announcement

Nationals, UK Ultimate, UKU Nationals, WFDF, WUGC2020, WUGC2021

Si Hill, CEO of UK Ultimate, described the news as “sad and disappointing”, but said that he thought “on balance, I agree with the decision and I agree with making the decision now”.

Hill added: “I think certainty is good for everyone. Making the call on this tournament, as well as on the beach and under-24 tournaments, is the right thing and I think it shows that the decisions have been made based on safety. It’s sad to have to cancel another world championships but I’d encourage the players and everybody else to take some time to think, and to give people the benefit of the doubt on the motives driving their decisions. These decisions are really difficult for everybody and a great deal has changed even in the last six weeks, not only in the UK but globally as well. It’s a tough situation but I think this is the right decision.”

He added that the WUCC qualification element was something that UKU have not looked into in any great detail, but that he remains optimistic that some ultimate can resume by summer.

“We remain somewhat optimistic that we can play somewhat competitive ultimate in summer,” he said. “It might not look like tournaments but we intend to run a national championships in some form. It might be based on fixtures involving two or three teams playing fixtures locally rather than weekend-long events, but we think that we’ll be able to run something. We have a provisional booking for Nationals at the usual time but it’s impossible to know right now whether we will be able to run that event in the usual way.”

WFDF confirms that 2021 events are off

WFDF, world games, WUGC2020, WUGC2021

The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) today announced that it would not be holding any events in 2021 due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic. The decision means that WUGC in Leeuwarden and WU24C in Limerick, both scheduled for later this year, have effectively been cancelled.

A press release issued by WFDF said that it was “primarily concerned about the health and safety of athletes, volunteers, and others involved in planning and holding events” in making the decision to clear the 2021 calendar. It added: “WFDF has concluded that it is simply not feasible to plan cross-border events through 2021, due to varying regulations and restrictions. There can be no certainty as to the ability of athletes to travel and compete safely in various events in 2021.” WFDF confirmed that money paid by teams in 2021 will be fully refunded as soon as possible.

The decision was made following an extension to lockdown conditions announced by the government of the Netherlands on 12 January. The measure was extended to 9 February with ongoing border restrictions part of the response to the virus.

WFDF President Robert ‘Nob’ Rauch said: “While the development of several safe and effective vaccines is good news, the limited availability and slower than expected distribution plan guidance by governmental authorities suggests that a return to whatever our ‘new normal’ will be on a global basis is not going to occur until late this year. After taking into consideration all of the data available to us, in consultation with our event organizers, our review of WHO and other international guidelines, the status of the distribution of a vaccine, and the advice of our medical team, WFDF has concluded that it will not be possible to run large-scale events in 2021 in a way that protects the health and safety of all participants, and it is not even clear that travel and other governmental restrictions will be lifted until late in the year.”

The decision to not hold events in 2021 has a number of effects for the ultimate calendar in 2022. First, qualification for the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama in July 2022 has, according to established WFDF rules, been based on the last completed qualification tournament – WUGC 2016 in London. That means that Great Britain have qualified for the tournament, alongside hosts USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, Colombia and European rivals France and Germany.

The other events scheduled for 2022 include:

  • World Ultimate Club Championships (WUCC), which will be held as planned in July or August
  • World Beach Ultimate Championships (WBUC) which had originally been planned for November 2021 but will now be held in April 2022
  • The second edition of WMUCC, the master’s version of WUCC, in June or July
  • The World Junior Ultimate Championships scheduled for July or August

Rauch went on to talk about the possibility of more ‘local’ events being able to occur in 2021, adding: “Although large cross-border championship events will be slowest to return, we are hopeful on behalf of our national federations that local and national level competition can resume within the next six months. While athletes have been able to continue to participate in individual disciplines like disc golf, which grew exponentially this last year, we expect a gradual phase-in of team and large event activity, starting with personal training, socially distanced team practices, smaller local events, to full blown competitive events and tournaments.”

As part of that gradual phase-in, WFDF has already spoken to a number of federations who have taken the early decision to cancel their 2021 national championships, events that would effectively serve as qualifiers to WUCC 2022.  WFDF says that it will spend time working with federations to find ways that teams can be selected while keeping local and national health guidance in mind.

WFDF also confirmed that, having paused bid processes during the pandemic, it has engaged with potential bidders for 2022 events and will be moving forward with evaluations. The UKU has previously indicated that it will bid for WUCC 2022 in Nottingham, using a venue very close to the traditional WindFarm fields.

WFDF clarifies budget for WUGC

WFDF, WUGC2020, WUGC2021

WFDF today sent out an email to teams registered for WUGC 2020 further clarifying the financial situation of the tournament. Teams had previously been told that they would only be able to get around a quarter of the money they had sent in player fees back should they pull out of the tournament following postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic, and none of the team fees. This announcement had caused some controversy, with teams and players asking to know more about what their money had been spent on.

WFDF and the tournament organising committee (TOC) also said that if teams still wanted to attend the event, now taking place in 2021, then players would need to pay an extra EUR150 to make up for budgetary shortfalls. The federation took the step of sending out a letter from WFDF Vice President Brian Gisel and WFDF Managing Director Events Karina Woldt which included a number of answers to questions they had been asked and a detailed budget provided by the TOC.

The budget provided to teams by WFDF

The budget shows that costs have been taken out of a number of areas, including marketing, game advisors and competition services like equipment, while extra money has been put into medical costs. The bulk of the increases comes in staffing costs, with the staff involved now going to have to stay working on the tournament for an extra year. The costs of withdrawals have also been factored in, and shows that the amount that has been requested from teams lines up with the rough figures suggested on Ultiworld earlier this week.

Karina Woldt said: “We have listened to what the players and teams have asked, and we want to be open and honest with them about the tournament. We are talking to the TOC about what can be claimed back and they have said that around 25% is what they can currently get from their suppliers. We are hopeful that more could be refunded if the event is cancelled, but we want WUGC to be a great event. The TOC has already managed to reclaim more of their costs than they had expected after some negotiation, and we will do all we can to keep teams, players and federations informed.”

WFDF also clarifies in the letter that the only money they will be taking from the tournament is the relatively low sanctioning fees, with most of the money accepted and used by the TOC. The tournament is still not confirmed, with both WFDF and the TOC awaiting answers from teams that enough can attend to make the event viable. Teams now have until June 17 to respond, with a decision made by mid-July this year as to whether it will go forward.