Nationals and EUCR

In 2007 we face the need to adapt our existing competition structure to support the new European Ultimate Championship Series (EUCS). Please see the EUCS website for more information about this new venture in European ultimate. The UKUA is extremely keen to support this new competition as we feel it is an important step to help raise the bar for top level ultimate in Europe.

In 2006 the West region was made up of UK and Ireland. This made life very straightforward and we used the Tour as a means to decide who should qualify. The Irish typically send their top open team to all the tour events so this was acceptable for them.

However following a review of the 2006 series it was decided that the West region should also include Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Unfortunately for us, this decision was taken after we had made decisions regarding the 2007 season - and communicated dates to UK players. Due to a difficult debate regarding our own "split season" this had taken some considerable effort. It was clear that with teams from Benelux involved we would have to run the regional qualification event as a single tournament. With the backdrop of having already communicated dates, etc, it was decided that the EUCR event would have to be added to one of the existing events - at least for 2007.

On discussing the merits of using Tour 3 or Nationals for this - it was decided that using Nationals was less distruptive - and also offered the following benefits:

1. Nationals was already - to some extent - a one-off tournament.

2. Many players/teams had come to see Nationals as less exciting over recent years - and felt it was in need of a new "angle". Making Nationals the tournament through which teams qualify for EUCF would certainly increase its value.

3. Using Nationals made sense in terms of the "flow" of the season as it allowed the UK teams to complete the Tour as usual, and then start working towards a new 2-tournament series of Nationals/EUCR followed by EUCF (finals) if they qualified. If the idea worked one might envisage a situation in the future where there was some gap between the Tour and the EUCS tournaments.

The main downsides would be

1. It would be difficult to accommodate as many UK teams at the new Nationals/EUCR tournament. It should be noted that there was no specific plan to reduce the number of UK teams - but simply a realisation that you would need at least 16 fields to host a tournament with enough space for everyone that might want to come. This has turned out to be the case as the current plan is to hold Nationals 2007 at a venue that can probably only hold a maximum of 12 fields. Having said that - it is also worth noting that Nationals has not been fully subscribed for the last few years and this move would almost certainly rectify that problem.

2. There is a risk that a non UK team wins Nationals. This is likely to be one of those ideas where you will find it difficult to get someone to change their view. Either you believe that Nationals is a tournament for UK players to determine their best team; or you want the toughest possible competition and are prepared to risk giving the title to a team from another country if they are good enough to come and take it.

 

For 2007 we continue to look to increase the size of the existing venue and/or find a replacement venue that would enable us to have enough space for as many teams from UK, Ireland and Benelux as want to come.

For 2008 and beyond it is worth bearing in mind that EUCS is itself likely to continue to evolve.

Whilst we are not saying this will be decided by public vote - we would like very much to receive further feedback on the idea. If it makes a difference to whether you decide to say anything - the feedback so far is pretty much split down the middle! Please register your feedback using the contact form .