Further Update To 2019/2020 BQC + EQC Arrangements Regarding COVID-19

In light of recent announcements from both the British Government and Quidditch Europe in the last 48 hours regarding COVID-19, QuidditchUK has several updates pertaining to the new season, the British Quidditch Cup, and the European Quidditch Cup.

GENERAL GUIDELINES

QuidditchUK maintains their stance that no quidditch should be taking place, despite the exercise relaxations announced by the government earlier this week.

QuidditchUK are strongly discouraging any and all quidditch activity. Member clubs and teams should avoid training together until further notice, and any planned tournaments or events should be postponed or cancelled.

This advice extends to all QuidditchUK clubs, QuidditchUK national teams, Quidditch Premier League teams, and any Youth Quidditch programmes planned or scheduled in the coming months.

Stay home, travel only when essential, and wash your hands.

BRITISH QUIDDITCH CUP 2020

Unfortunately, with the proposed timelines from the British Government, QuidditchUK no longer views hosting the 2020 British Quidditch Cup as safe or viable for our members. This is for several reasons:

Firstly, our estimates had been for a late July BQC, which was based on projections which showed improvements to public health being made from late May. However, with current infection/casualty trends, and our government’s inability to provide clear and concise guidelines, this is clearly no longer the case. It is therefore unlikely that we will see drastic changes in time to host an event on the scale of BQC safely.

Secondly, at the time of writing this announcement, our most recent survey indicates that our members would strongly prefer a stronger start to the 2020/2021 season than a late summer BQC.

This also marks the end of the 2019/2020 season. QuidditchUK are still determining if we need to allocate a national champion in light of the current pandemic and will update accordingly.

EUROPEAN QUIDDITCH CUP

Quidditch Europe have made the decision to postpone both Division 1 and Division 2 of the European Quidditch Cup to 2021, effectively cancelling the 2020 iteration of the European championships.

As it stands, this is the information we know so far:

1. Division 2 of the European Quidditch Cup will be hosted in Brescia, Italy in 2021.

2. Quidditch Europe are voting whether or not to reopen the bidding for EQC Division 1, we will update as soon as we know more.

3. All NGBs will retain their seeding and spot allocation for the 2021 EQC Tournaments
• QuidditchUK will have 10 spots.
• 5 spots for Division 1
• 5 spots for Division 2

The recent release of this announcement means that QuidditchUK are still discussing whether to allow teams/clubs that qualified via the European Qualifier Tournament to carry that qualification to EQC 2021.

There are obviously many more working parts to the current situation for us to make an entirely informed decision, and we ask for patience while considerations are made. Teams worked hard to qualify for EQC 2020, but with the proposed changes of the season and Quidditch Europe permitting the re-opening of qualifications, moving forward it may make sense for teams to qualify again, if this is practical.

Internal discussions are being held, and we will seek consultation with club leadership before finalising any decision on EQC qualifications.

2020/2021 SEASON

We’re still gathering feedback and information from our community on the new season structure.

New Season Structure Survey

If you and your teammates have not yet filled this out, please take 5 minutes to complete. It’ll help us make a more informed decision and take the sport in the right direction.

It’s also likely that based on the feedback and insights we receive, QuidditchUK will host a General Forum with club leadership again to discuss the new season in light of COVID-19 timelines and the current state of clubs moving forward.

Thank you for understanding in light of the recent circumstances. We’re all sure that you can sympathise that none of this has been an easy decision for us, nor has it been for anyone else involved. As always, if anyone would like to reach out to us in relation to anything we haven’t addressed, or would like clarification on a particular point, please contact us for us to get back to you.

The New Secretary Is In! It’s Chloe Durkin!

Continuing QuidditchUK’s fantastic recruitment drive of the last few months: We’re absolutely thrilled to announce that Chloe Durkin has taken the role of Secretary to the President, succeeding Francesca Vigilante after retaining the role for nearly two years.

Chloe has been a proud member of QuidditchUK since the start of the 2017 season, when she started playing for Bangor Broken Broomsticks. From playing at Northern Cup to the British Quidditch Cup in her first season – the once Bangor fresher wouldn’t have imagined leading her team to glory, claiming third place at this years Development Cup just gone. It’s an understatement that Chloe has worked very hard to get to where she is now, especially in relation to her commitments to the Quidditch Premiere League over the last two seasons. In fact, Chloe is now broadening her horizons, looking for a new team to join as she graduates Bangor University this summer. Additionally, Chloe has been awarded with Full Colours as recognised by her commitment and outstanding effort to the sport from her university. 

With her dedication to the sport paid off, Chloe wanted to say a few words before she stepped into her new role:

“I’m incredibly excited to be a part of EMT and be part of decision making processes in the growth of the sport. Especially with the new structure that is being taken up in the 2020/21 season. I’m also glad to have the ability to bring ideas or suggestions to the table to make the sport more enjoyable for the community, especially in terms of listening to what the teams want and expanding opportunities for people to get involved outside of QUK tournaments!”

That’s the enthusiasm we like to see! Welcome to the team, Chloe. We know you’ll make a big difference and fit right into developing the sport across your time with us! From everyone at QuidditchUK, we wish you well with your new role!

Want to learn more about how you can make a difference? Check out our available volunteering vacancies across all our departments including Expansion, Events, Operations and more!

Tom Hutton joins the Executive Management Team as Operations Director

In recent weeks, QuidditchUK welcomed Tom Hutton to our ranks as the new Operations Director, succeeding Joshua Fogg in the role. We’re delighted to have Tom on-board as a long-term volunteer as part of the Executive Management Team, who also shares ownership of the organisation alongside our current President and Vice-President, Matt Bateman and Abby Whiteley.

A former Team GB lawn bowler, Tom – started his journey within the UK quidditch scene in 2014. He began playing for Leceister Thestrals where he went to University, eventually illuminating his desire to become a solicitor. After graduating from one of the oldest teams in the UK, Tom’s post-university appearances include Tornadoes Quidditch Club (currently on hiatus); Velociraptors Quidditch Club and the London Unspeakables, having completed a full season with each club so far. Joining the Unspeakables kicked off the 2019/20 season in the right direction, bringing some valuable rewards for the new director. Tom was part of the squad who claimed the gold medal and overall tournament win at Highlander VIII, as well as picking up a Southern Cup in 2019 and EQT 2020 silver medal. All in a season’s work! 

When asked his initial thoughts about joining QuidditchUK, Tom had this to say:

“I’m really excited to be able to build on the great work Josh has done over these last years, and I’m incredibly lucky to have a really strong team behind me. It’s a tough time to start in the midst of a global pandemic, but nevertheless I’m ready to muck in and help QUK move from strength to strength.”

We’re outstanded by how competitive this athlete has been over the last couple of seasons and are thrilled to have a great candidate for this senior level of QuidditchUK’s executive management. As Operations Director, Tom will be responsible for setting our department’s budgets; processing invoices for tournaments; sorting volunteer payments; and many more tasks as an organisation moving forward.

Welcome aboard, Tom! We wish you all the best of luck and hope that you enjoy your time with us to make next season our best season yet! (We’re sure that will be no challenge after this year’s events!)

Written by Samuel Instone
Edited by Kirsty Scheiby

Photo Credit:
Claire Purslow Quidditch Photography

Introducing the QuidditchUK Newsletter!

It’s definitely been a long time coming, but QuidditchUK are very happy to announce the release of our latest edition to our media releases – the QUK newsletter!

The idea of having a regular release of a newsletter has been jumping about for seasons, with no mention of actual execution. However, due to extreme circumstances in relation to the outbreak of COVID-19, we’ve thought a newsletter released every fortnight would do everyone some good!

Without further-ado, please feel free to check out Issue 1 here! We’ve got updates on departments throughout the organisation, puzzles, games, general news and recommendations of projects created by our fantastic community coping through the isolation period!

If you personally would like to contribute something that you think we’re missing or would just generally like to help and volunteer with the creation of future issues: Please get in touch with our Vice President and head of this project – Abby Whiteley. (vicepresident@quidditchuk.org)

Check back with us in two weeks time for Issue 2 of our Newsletter, scheduled to be released on Friday 24th April!

Thank you to our contributors: Abby Whiteley, Lucy Nicholls, James Gratton, Em Stephens, Chloe Durkin and Samuel Instone for putting this all together!

(We’re hoping to designate a particular page/place for these to live, however they’ll be publicly accessible throughout our social media for the time being).

Development Cup review: OUQC take gold

The Radcliffe Chimeras, London Unbreakables and Bangor Broken Broomsticks secured berths at the British Quidditch Cup after medalling at Development Cup, held at Salford Sports Village on 7/8 March.

The Radcliffe Chimeras (Oxford Universities Quidditch Club) with the trophy

Oxford Universities Quidditch Club, captained by Vicky Morris, took home the gold after an unbroken winning streak across the weekend. In the final they faced the London Unbreakables, also an undefeated team in the group and bracket stages. Unbreakables, led by Peter Glenister, played a confident game and pulled 30 points ahead with snitch on pitch. David Banas caught a clean catch, which was disallowed due to illegal gender composition. OUQC took their opportunity to get back into the game, pulling back several goals before a catch from William Whitehouse secured their victory for a final scoreline of 130*-70. In an all-Wales derby, a well-drilled Bangor Broken Broomsticks defeated Swansea Scorpions in overtime to take bronze. Swansea’s Caroline Norrish clinched a catch from three goals behind to force overtime, and Chloe Durkin’s side pushed the advantage on quaffle to gain a bronze medal for the tournament.

Development Cup is a unique opportunity in the QuidditchUK calendar for teams to invest in their growth and gain access to tailored skills coaching. While QuidditchUK volunteer resources were redistributed shortly after the tournament to respond to the unusual national circumstances, meaning the media follow-up was delayed, we still wish to acknowledge the efforts of everyone who made this tournament happen and thank all the volunteers and teams for a fantastic event. If you want to relive it, you can watch the highlight reel here!

The final rankings and public results can be found here:

Many thanks to the tournament committee and all the non-playing volunteers who made Development Cup a huge success! Congratulations to OUQC, and we look forward to seeing everyone come together again when the season resumes.

QuidditchUK 19/20 Season & COVID-19 Updates

Despite a lot of uncertainty floating about with the recent updates to COVID-19 within the United Kingdom and the international community, it has been incredibly heart-warming to see the wider community being so supportive over the last week.

Firstly, from the Executive Management Team, we would like to say thank you to all club and team leadership for taking the instruction to postpone training and competition, and further limit risk of the virus spreading.

Cancelling or postponing events is never an easy decision to make, and is not one we made lightly, and we’re thankful for the community to have responded so well both publicly and privately towards our volunteers. It hasn’t been an easy week for any of us, and it likely won’t get easier soon, but having this wonderful community to fall back on is what makes this sport so special. So thank you, and keep looking out for each other.

We encourage members and clubs to keep reaching out to each other, the inter-community support is only going to get more important over the coming weeks and months, and we know that a lot of that is achieved through shared content and experience.

Online virtual socials both within and outside of your clubs, fitness challenges, discussions, footage and gameplay reviews, totally-official-online-basketball-competitions for the British Quidditch Cup. And memes.

All of these are vital, and we implore you to keep it up.

With official measures now rolled out by the UK Government and firmer decisions being made by both Quidditch Europe and The International Association across the coming weeks, QuidditchUK are slowly positioning themselves into what comes next.

We’re not yet in a position to determine when the British Quidditch Cup will take place, or if it is still a certainty for this year, however we’re educating ourselves on what may be practical in the coming months.

We have just reached out to clubs with a range of dates to indicate if/when a summer BQC could feasibly happen. We are aware that summer competitions will make things complicated for our university membership to compete, but we’re determined to find a solution that will benefit the majority of members should BQC still go ahead this year.

A lot of this still swings on the state of COVID-19 as well as other quidditch events, namely the World Cup, but as many of those international decisions are being decided by mid-April, we are at this stage aiming to determine BQC 2020 by mid-May.

We’ll be updating you as and when we can, but in the meantime stay safe, stay connected, stay isolated whenever possible, and stay in touch.

If you need to reach out to QuidditchUK for any reason, please get in touch with us and we’ll help however we can.

Thanks
the QuidditchUK Executive Management Team

QuidditchUK Policies surrounding COVID-19

After discussions with experts and partners within Sport England, and our medical contacts, QuidditchUK have made the following decisions with regards to our tournaments, clubs, and all UK quidditch activities for the foreseeable future.

First and foremost, the 2020 British Quidditch Cup has been postponed until further notice.

In the early stages of the outbreak, QuidditchUK maintained the possibility that the worst of the epidemic would have passed by mid-late April, at which point hosting a national tournament would still be a realistic aim. However, with recent trends, newly released information, and a growing concern of safety and welfare for our members, we are postponing the British Quidditch Cup.

We still intend to host BQC this year, but given the rapid escalation of the COVID-19 situation in the United Kingdom and Europe, we are currently reluctant to propose an alternative date as we cannot predict when the pandemic will have passed. This decision will also need to consider the exam timetables of our student member base and international quidditch fixtures over the coming months.

A full cancellation of BQC for the 2019-2020 season is still a possibility, depending on how the situation progresses. Should this become our only option, we will inform the community as soon as possible.

Effective immediately, QuidditchUK are strongly discouraging any and all quidditch activity. Member clubs and teams should avoid training together until further notice, and any planned tournaments or events should be postponed or cancelled.

This advice extends to all QuidditchUK clubs, QuidditchUK national teams, Quidditch Premier League teams, and any Youth Quidditch programmes planned or scheduled in the coming months.

If you believe you have come into contact with a person who may be infected with COVID-19 at a quidditch event or team training, you must contact your club leadership and/or QuidditchUK as soon as possible so appropriate action can be taken.

Regarding EQC, QuidditchUK will also be recommending and voting for the postponement of the Division 1 European Quidditch Cup this coming Wednesday (18th April) at a Quidditch Europe consultation.

Quidditch Australia has created the following guidelines for clubs and individuals competing or training. QuidditchUK maintains that clubs should not be engaging in quidditch activities until further notice, but these measures should be practised until the situation is less severe. Further advice will be released when clubs should return to training and fixtures.

We anticipate this to be late May to early June, but do not have a firm date or time as of yet.

  1. Recommendations for Clubs & Individuals
    1. With regards to attendance, individuals should: 
      1. Not attend events/training if they have contracted COVID-19
      2. Not attend events/training if they have come into contact with someone confirmed to have contracted COVID-19
    2. With regards to personal hygiene, individuals should: 
      1. Wash hands before and after
        1. Playing games
        2. Touching equipment like mouthguards 
      2. Ideally use hand sanitiser before and after taking to the pitch
      3. Avoid touching their face
      4. Avoid sneezing or coughing into hands, clothing, or elbow-pit 
        1. Note: arms and elbows may regularly come into contact to other people through tackles, ball handling, or using ‘elbow-bumps’ as an alternative to handshakes after a game. We recommend sneezing or coughing into a tissue, handkerchief, personal towel, etc, that may be thrown out or cleaned.  
    3. With regards to equipment, individuals should 
      1. Minimise sharing of equipment such as 
        1. Jerseys 
        2. Gloves
        3. Brooms
        4. Headbands
      2. Entirely avoid sharing equipment such as 
        1. Whistles 
        2. Water bottles
        3. Mouth guards
    4. Individuals should also 
      1. Avoid hugs, handshakes, high fives, or similar contact after a game
      2. Avoid the practice of removing a mouthguard during a game
      3. Avoid spitting on gloves to clean them or make them more sticky 

Line notes and next steps

  • British Quidditch Cup is suspended until further notice.
  • The QuidditchUK Executive Management Team are discussing all options with venues and partners and will have a more concrete timeline in the next 1-2 weeks.
  • There are no plans to cancel BQC as of yet, but it is still a possibility and will be communicated in due course when the COVID-19 situation is more developed.
  • QuidditchUK will be recommending and voting for the suspension of the Division 1 European Quidditch Cup.
  • QuidditchUK strongly recommends the suspension of any and all quidditch activities in the United Kingdom until further notice.
  • Team UK, Team Scotland, Team Wales are to cease all training until further notice.

For any further information or queries please get in touch via quidditchuk.org/contact

Molly Maurice-Smith Looks For Successor In Human Resources

It is with great dismay to officially announce that Molly Maurice-Smith, one of the longest running members of QuidditchUK’s current Executive Management Team has stepped down. Molly relinquishes her role as Human Resources Director, who manages all volunteers, playing or non-playing, within the sport. Without volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to maintain well run tournaments as well as keep afloat many different departments of our national governing body.

Molly has had a great run in her two and a half years of being a senior volunteer for us. The memory of her still being part of Reading Rocs (a now retired team) only felt like yesterday! Within her time directing volunteers, she’s saw out the re-branded Reading Knights last season, ending in 2018 and took a casual hiatus whilst playing Bristol Bears before the beginning of 2019. Now, her recent transfer to London Unspeakables in conjunction to her most recent move across the country for work has finally accelerated her quidditch career. Molly was part of the squad who claimed second place at the European Qualifier Tournament and will hopefully be going to Belgium in May to play on the international stage she’s always dreamt of.

Molly had this to say before she retired from her duties:

“I have to thank QuidditchUK, and the volunteers who have given it life and growth, for offering me the opportunity to build my skillset and allowing me to enjoy being a part of this incredible community.”

We’d like to extend our gratitude towards Molly for all her hard work and service to the sport and the community. There’s no question about her being an absolutely influential part in the development of volunteers throughout Media, Operations, Events, Gameplay and all other conglomerate sectors which would not make up QuidditchUK as it’s run today and will be run for the betterment of the future.

As well as our praise, we would like to wish her all the best on her next adventure. On behalf of us and the general community: Thank you, Molly!

We are now advertising for the role of Volunteers Director. This role will be open through our website. Just drop us a cover letter and a CV explaining why you would be suitable for the role!

We’re looking for a successor that will continue the good work that Molly has done countless times from interviews to reviews and advertising job roles on our website. If this seems like something you can get on board with, please don’t fret to apply! If you have any questions about the role or volunteering in general, feel free to contacthumanresources@quidditchuk.org or reach the team through our Contact Us form.

QuidditchUK launches next phase of community consultation for 2020/21 season

As QuidditchUK research the best options for the 2020/21 season and beyond, we are continuing our community consultation to help us design a successful season structure. The timeline of these consultations is below, and we hope everyone finds something they can engage with! Each stage of consultation will be launched after there has been sufficient time for the previous stage to be evaluated, and for amendments to be made reflecting the insights from previous consultations.

  • First round-table: Tuesday 3rd March
  • Second round-table (if demand suffices): To be consulted with attendees
  • Survey release: 22nd March
  • Public review of round-table comments: 23rd March
  • Survey close: 29th March
  • Document commentary release: Early April
  • Survey results release: Mid-late April
  • Decision for 2020/21 announced: May

We are currently looking for participants in the round-table; information about this is provided here and you can sign up through this form!

The minutes from General Forum, the first phase of consultation, can be found here. The document commentary will be a more developed proposal, released with a form allowing all members to send in their comments.

Please note that at every stage of the consultation, the proposed changes are non-binding. We are keen to avoid adjustments which would seriously harm or inconvenience teams of any kind, and all proposals are attempting to balance many competing priorities. These consultations are an opportunity to help to build a functional season structure together, benefitting teams across the country and giving everyone better opportunities for competition.

If, after consultation and review, we find that the current (2019/20) structure is the most appropriate to support the growth and quality of quidditch in the UK, we will strive to deliver a successful 2020/21 season within this format. We welcome your comments, ideas and queries throughout this process, and we are looking forward to working with community members to ensure a successful 2019/20 and 2020/21 season.

QuidditchUK welcomes Fran Morris as new Events Director

QuidditchUK is delighted to formally announce Fran Morris as the new Events Director. In this role, Fran will be taking the helm of QuidditchUK’s flagship events, supporting our Events Officers and tournament committees to deliver regional and national tournaments to a high standard.

Fran brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this role, and has repeatedly proven her ability to deliver excellent events. She led the tournament committee of Northern Cup 2019 as tournament director, and has also held senior roles in delivering BQC, Christmas Cup, and multiple iterations of Valentines Cup. Fran’s experience as a player is also extensive, from a strong first season in 2015-16 with the Radcliffe Chimeras, to leading the Oxford Quidlings as captain, before joining her current team the Oxford Mammoths.

Fran looks on

Upon joining QuidditchUK, Fran said:

I cannot wait to join QuidditchUK on a permanent basis as Events Director, especially as the upcoming year is looking to be an exciting time in terms of events, with some big changes coming to our season structure. My main focus will be on overseeing these changes and ensuring a smooth transition into a new system which gives teams and players more opportunities to compete. I’m looking forward to building on the excellent foundations laid by Gen in this role previously, and working with the incredible Events department, to continue to deliver great tournaments and fixtures in future!

As Events Director, Fran will be a member of the QuidditchUK Executive Management Team, and will help to steer the sport through 2020 and beyond. She has already been involved in the delivery of the European Qualifying Tournament 2020, and we are excited to see Fran apply her experience and formidable work ethic to upcoming events.

Best of luck in your new role, Fran!