General Forum, 2020/21 Season Updates, New Website, Director Roles

As we gear up towards slowly reopening the sport in the coming months, we want to call attention to a few updates taking place within QuidditchUK.

Everything listed below is pending on continuous recovery of COVID-19, and that return to play is both safe and viable for our clubs and members. We are constantly reviewing the situation both nationally and internationally, and reviewing official advice from Sport England and the UK Government. Essentially, the following dates/events are subject to change, and should we no longer believe the dates for tournaments are practical or safe, we will adjust and/or cancel accordingly.

Please note, all following announcements will be open for discussion at the upcoming General Forum this Monday 6th July. Please ensure your club representatives are able to attend, including any brand new clubs set to start next year. You can do so by emailing teams@quidditchuk.org.

Return to Play

QuidditchUK has decided to allow clubs and teams at all levels to resume training from August 1st 2020.

We anticipate the current pandemic will have eased out enough to begin slowly returning to regular training sessions for our clubs, with allowances and safeguards to minimise spreading of the virus.

Appropriate return to play guidelines for clubs and players will be provided closer to August.

EQT & EQC

Based on the current COVID timelines and uncertain state of universities in the early half of the new season, QuidditchUK is leaning towards the decision that EQT 2020/2021 will not take place, and EQC spots and their respective seedings will be given to the teams that qualified at EQT 2019/2020. A key reason for this is that university teams would be disproportionately disadvantaged by a tournament held in November or December, as some institutions have already declared they do not intend to hold in-person teaching for the autumn term.

Clubs who have qualified for EQC Division 1 & 2 will be contacted shortly by QuidditchUK to verify if they are still able and willing to compete in the 2021 iterations of EQC. We will make a final call following these conversations and after the upcoming General Forum.

Should teams and/or clubs pull out of either EQC division, we may introduce a small 1-Day opt-in tournament in early December for clubs to compete for the newly open spot(s).

The current rule on qualified players is yet unclear, we will be updating teams as soon as possible so clubs can make informed decisions about squad selection. With the amount of time passing since EQT 2019/2020, QuidditchUK will be pushing for relaxed rosters policies against European Qualification within QUK.

Community Consultation and University/Community Split

QuidditchUK underwent several stages of community consultation in designing the 2020/2021 season. These included:

  • General Forum on 23rd January
  • Community round-tables on 3rd and 10th March
  • Publicly released survey at the beginning of May, closed at the end of that same month. (219 respondents)

The proposals given here, including our commitment to a university/community split, were informed by the feedback received at every stage of this consultation. Some decisions, such as the size of regional tournaments, were carried through multiple stages of consultation to ensure that the final decision reflects the wishes of as many players as possible. Many thanks to all our players who committed their time and energy to guiding our decision-making.

A summary of the findings from these consultations can be found in the Annexe of this document. A brief explanation of how these informed our decision-making is given below. Please note that data from the General Forum and round-tables was gathered prior to the lockdown in response to the pandemic, and that this has prevented or postponed the implementation of some suggestions. The public minutes from these consultations can be found at quidditchuk.org/about

General Forum raised concerns about whether a divisional split would be more appropriate for teams to play those ranked at a similar competitive level. Two divisional fixtures have been introduced for community teams, but a mixed university-community divisional structure has considerable practical impediments which are discussed here. US Quidditch also advised that a university/community split provided specific opportunities which could not be accommodated with a divisional split. Concern was raised about how the status of individual players, such as postgraduate students, would be handled. This issue was also raised in discussion between QuidditchUK and US Quidditch. Some useful suggestions for managing this concern were raised at the round-tables, including geographical exemptions for players who cannot access a community team; a “student minimum” cap rather than a “community maximum”; and a phased approach over multiple seasons, rather than implementing strict distinctions immediately. Some teams, particularly those in Scotland and the Midlands, were concerned about a lack of variety in opponents incurred by smaller regions. This question was pursued in further consultations. Concern was expressed about the proposed fee structure. It was agreed that this would be revisited, and at this General Forum we are presenting a very different approach.

The round-tables followed up on General Forum by raising discussion about the appropriate size of regionals; opportunities for university and community teams to play each other; and interest among community teams in summer play. There was mixed feedback about appropriate regionals size, as smaller regionals are cheaper but mean that teams play a less diverse range of opponents. This was included in the survey to obtain further feedback. The response to interest in a summer season for community teams was initially to move community fixtures into late summer/early autumn, with a mid-season break until spring. However, this has not been possible to propose for the 2020/2021 season due to the COVID-19 outbreak preventing summer training. We will review this when the pandemic is no longer a complicating factor.

The community survey provided some clear-cut answers to some of the issues raised above. The balance between smaller, more affordable events and large, more competitively valuable events fell in favour of larger events: 59% of respondents indicated a preference for larger events. 63% of university respondents voted for larger regionals, compared to 53% of community respondents. This is reflected in our decision to provide larger regionals for university teams, and divisional fixtures for community teams. A larger (32-team) BQC received 106 votes, while a smaller (24-team) BQC received 110 votes. University players indicated greater interest in a larger (32-team) BQC. Due to the very close divide in player base opinion, the following factors were decisive in our delivery of a 24-team BQC:

  • It is cheaper both for QuidditchUK and for teams, in particular due to venue expense;
  • The reported number of teams for the upcoming season indicates that a 32-team BQC may mean we cannot run a full Development Cup, of which the importance is widely acknowledged by attendees;
  • A smaller BQC makes a greater number of people available to volunteer, either in tournament committee roles or as on-the-day volunteers, which raises the quality of the event for everyone.

This allows us to run two high-quality, cheaper tournaments, rather than investing more resources in running a larger, lower-quality tournament, accompanied by a very small Development Cup or none at all.

The original projected timeline for consultation included a document commentary, where a full draft of the season would be released for free comment. Due to diverted volunteer resourcing in adjustments prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak, this has not been possible. However, we hope that the release of these documents, and the concomitant discussion at General Forum, will provide sufficient opportunity to give feedback on these proposals without a formal process.

2020/2021 Season Calendar

The Executive Team and Events/Gameplay department have agreed upon a final calendar of what the next QuidditchUK season will look like for 2020/2021.

Full 2020/2021 Season Calendar (PDF)

Community Club Season
University Club Season

As noted earlier, these dates are subject to change based on advice surrounding COVID-19, and are yet to be discussed with club leaders at the upcoming general forum.

Specific formats, including how seeding will be allocated, is under review by QuidditchUK. Clubs will be updated when final decisions have been reached and this calendar has been rolled out.

Fees

We have determined the new fees for the 2020/2021 Season
Importantly, we have also introduced two new membership fee tiers.

Trial Member, costing £15.00
Available for anyone brand new to quidditch.
Includes the cost of your QuidditchUK membership and the player fee for your first tournament that season.

Season Pass, costing £75.00
Available for any new or returning member to quidditch.Includes the cost of your QuidditchUK membership and all player fees for all tournaments attended that season.

New Website

We are also updating our website, creating a tool that will make quidditch easier to find for new people, and also streamline the membership/event registration process for both players and club leadership. We’re on track for an early August launch.

  • Postcode Finder
    • Will inform anyone of their nearest club or event in the UK based on an input postcode
  • Quote Builder
    • A system that will allow clubs to automatically generate quotations for tournaments and membership, specifically for clubs requiring funding from their student unions or sponsors.
  • Club Profile Pages
    • Full pages with contact details, club history, results, photos, and related news for each club.
  • Registration Fixes
    • Moving away from Google Forms entirely so we have a manageable system on the QUK side, that also gives instant access to club leadership who has registered for a team/tournament.
  • Easier access to grants, policies, minutes, programmes etc.

If you’re interested in assisting with development, please email technology@quidditchuk.org or media@quidditchuk.org

Part of this process is creating more informative pages that direct new players towards your clubs. A form was sent out to existing clubs on both email and social media in the last week. If your leadership has not yet filled it out then please do so as soon as possible. Likewise, if you did not receive it, please email teams@quidditchuk.org to request the form – particularly if you are a new club.

Seeking Volunteer Directors

Finally, we are still recruiting two new Executive Volunteers to join the QuidditchUK Executive Team: the Teams Director and Volunteers Director.
For anyone interested in learning more about these roles or where/if you can step in, you can get in touch with president@quidditchuk.org or vicepresident@quidditchuk.org.

Annexe

Table 1: Findings from General Forum

Area of interestKey findings and responses
Divisional split based on team ability, rather than a university/community split.This was found to be logistically unmanageable for both QuidditchUK and teams. A detailed explanation of this can be found here. This does not lay the groundwork for BUCS affiliation or other benefits which require a university-specific league.
Need for clear definitions about who is a university or community player, including accommodations for postgraduate students.This will be reviewed in future community consultation to ensure a functional system.
Regionals size.While smaller regionals can be cheaper to run and attend, there was concern about those in certain regions, particularly Scotland and the Midlands, playing the same opponents all the time. This required further review.
Concern about the affordability of the proposed fee structure.Fees to undergo considerable review.

Table 2: Findings from community round-tables

Area of interestKey findings and responses
Interest among university teams in having the opportunity to play community teams.Attendees suggested that this could be accommodated by club-run fixtures, of which the value was clearly felt.
Regionals size.While smaller regionals were acknowledged to be cheaper, university teams in particular emphasised they wanted to play a diverse range of teams. A smaller one-day regional fixture early in the season was proposed to accommodate new players, supplemented by larger regionals later in the season.
Community teams playing in a summer league.Highly preferred by community players.Could provide opportunities for community teams to provide additional support for universities in the autumn-winter off-season. Complications in terms of timeline, particularly new graduates not being rostered due to lack of time with the new team by the start of the season.
Expansion Cup (proposed as a “Division 2” of BQC, leaving Development Cup for new teams).Little interest in this proposal.
Community teams at Development Cup, which was proposed to be an event exclusively for university teams.This may accommodate the needs of lower-ranked community teams more effectively.This entails complications in terms of separating university and community leagues elsewhere in the season.For the 2020/2021 season, Development Cup will be mixed.
Gap in the season between regionals and fixtures in March. The proposed fixture gap for community teams was around six months.Little interest in playing during December – February due to weather conditions and university exams.This provides opportunity for club-run fixtures, of which the value was made clear by attendees.
Definition of teams.Concern that recent graduates would not be able to play for university teams, even where no other teams are available and where they can make significant contributions to the team.A popular suggestion was a “student minimum” cap, rather than a “graduate maximum”.A “geographical exemption” appeal for graduates living close to a university team, but far from any community team, was also popular.The cap should be phased in over a couple of seasons.

Table 3: Findings from community consultation survey

Please note that only areas directly relevant to this proposal are included. A full report of responses will be released separately.

Area of interestKey findings and responses
Aiming to deliver a 2020 BQC or launching the 2020/2021 season.Clear preference for launching the new season in favour of completing the 2019/2020 season.
Regionals size.Preference for larger regionals, particularly among university respondents.
Payment method.64% of respondents indicated that they preferred paying for QuidditchUK resources through their club.


Harry Smith Stepping Down As Teams Director

After twenty months of high energy volunteering for QuidditchUK, Teams Director Harry Smith has decided to step down from his position.

During his time in the role Harry has made significant steps in furthering the professionalism of quidditch as a sport. In particular, his work with Student Unions has helped universities understand how to support a quidditch team, thus enabling the growth of more university teams. Additionally, Harry has chaired numerous General Forums which have furthered community outreach and collaboration for QuidditchUK decision making, and his decision to split the forums into North and South has streamlined the discussion. All this whilst managing (until mid-2019) and playing for the highly successful London Quidditch Club for the past two seasons, with taking up arms as captaining their second team more recently.

In regards to his decision to step down, Harry has made the following statement:

“Firstly I’d like to say that the decision to step down has not been easy, however I’m very thankful to everyone at QuidditchUK for your fantastic work over the time I’ve been on the Executive Management Team. It’s been a truly wonderful experience working with such a brilliant bunch of people. Further I’d like to say thank you to the UK quidditch community as there are some really positive people out there helping to grow and develop the sport, and work with us to help facilitate that.

I wholeheartedly recommend volunteering for QuidditchUK if you have any interest at all, it’s not as daunting as it may initially seem and your decisions genuinely affect the way we experience this sport. Please don’t feel like you can’t help or that you don’t have enough experience as the team you work with is really supportive.”

We are so thankful, Harry, for all of your hardwork and dedicated contribution to the QuidditchUK family over the years, and wish you the best of luck with all future endeavors. Harry intends to step down only once a successor has been found in order to ease the transition process – if you would be interested in taking on this role, or volunteer elsewhere in QuidditchUK, do check out our Volunteers page!

Black Lives Matter

To remain silent is to be complicit, and we want to make our stance clear as a sport, as an organisation, and as a community that we are against the violence, racism, and systemic injustice that affect black people’s lives on a daily basis in the United States, here in the United Kingdom. and throughout the world.

Our leadership discussed how to respond and engage against the violence and police brutality happening to black people and their communities worldwide as they protest. We feel that a simple social media post or logo change would be little more than a hollow gesture, and potentially even distract from the importance of what is currently happening in the world right now.

QuidditchUK will be donating £250.00 to the Black Lives Matter movement, and matching a further £250.00 in donations made by the community.
We are also reviewing our practices and educating ourselves on how we can do better in our community.

Members of the Executive Team will also be donating their own money, and we encourage those wishing to contribute to do so via any of the links below.

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019

https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/donate

https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

If you’re unable to financially contribute directly, there are media projects out there such as the one linked below where 100% of the ad-revenue will go towards Black Lives Matter and their associated funds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCgLa25fDHM

Give nothing to racism.

Image courtesy of Black Lives Matter
https://blacklivesmatter.com/social-media-graphics/