A First Look At UK Quidditch In 2021/22Leagues
Hello! It's been a while. We've been working away in the background for a few months now and we're excited to (tenatively) announce the QuidditchUK 2021/2022 season.
This post contains updates on how our COVID-19 guidance will be changing as we move back towards competitive play and what the planned return to competition will look like for the QuidditchUK 2021-22 season. The information presented in this post is correct as of June 1st 2021, and may be updated later to reflect changes to government and local guidance regarding social distancing and large gatherings.
QuidditchUK would like to stress that we are not a recognised sport according to Sports England, and as a result legally we will not be treated as a sport in the eyes of DCMS or the UK Government. We have reached an agreement with Sport Scotland for special recognition in terms of our contact training, but this has not been matched in England or Wales. For England, we must follow guidance as applied to general outdoor gatherings. In Wales, guidance pertaining to “organised outdoor gatherings” applies.
A huge thanks needs to be given to our Events Department, in the organisation and creating of this infrastructure while juggling what is a very difficult and uncertain COVID-19 calendar ahead.
All in all, we are working as best we can with somewhat limited information, so please be patient with us. We all want a return to sport as soon and as safely as possible. And we will continue to communicate those plans and intentions as best we can.
In line with the previous guidance issued by QuidditchUK, once there are no longer any restrictions on social contact, quidditch training may be carried out with full-contact drills and with no limit on the number of players attending training. This will be when:
- England reaches Step 4 of its coronavirus roadmap
- Wales no longer has an alert level
- Regions in Scotland reach Covid Protection Level 0
However, we still recommend that clubs take precautions while running training: keep a record of attendance and any positive tests, communicate any positive tests to any relevant attendees, and continue to sanitise and disinfect shared equipment on a regular basis.
If these conditions are met by June 21st, we will proceed with the season structure for the 2021-22 season as outlined below.
If these conditions are not met by June 21st, which we understand is a possibility, we will be running an adjusted season plan. We want to give all teams enough time to readjust to playing and training with contact before we run competitive events, and with any delays there will not be enough time for this before the season begins in the current plan. Information on the adjustments will follow, as well as guidance to reflect any changes to the government roadmaps.
QuidditchUK currently plans to go ahead with a full 2021/22 season, as outlined in the following sections of this article. As we revise our risk assessments and policies, please be assured that personal safety is our utmost priority. Prior to running our events, we will consult with our medical partners, sports councils, and we will be taking extra measures to ensure that any risk of coronavirus spread is minimised as much as possible.
These measures may include practical hygiene measures such as hand washing or equipment cleaning, mask and distance requirements for volunteers, potential spectator limitations, requirement of COVID-19 self-testing prior to attendance, controlling player and volunteer thoroughfare, and minimising the use of indoor spaces.
While some of the above may appear extreme at first glance, we can’t remove safety barriers while variants and numbers continue to fluctuate in the UK and abroad. It is probable that COVID-19 measures will remain in place until further notice, likely into the early 2022/2023 season.
We also realise that these measures will require more volunteer personnel to allow our tournaments to run smoothly and safely. Extra hands will be required to manage pitches and assist in operational safety aspects of our fixtures, and we can only make this possible with the help of the community.
Furthermore, we must stress that currently as there is no available guidance for outdoor events beyond the current stages of the roadmaps in England and Wales, our plans remain subject to change as further guidelines are released and provided event dates are provisional.
After full-contact training is permitted again, QuidditchUK will be allowing time for teams to host ‘normal’ training sessions before we host any of our own fixtures. This “contact training window” is intended to give clubs enough time to specifically focus on retraining safe contact in line with the current rulebook. For some guidance on contact training, check out our coaching resources document.
During the contact training window, we strongly encourage clubs to organise friendly fixtures with other local clubs in order to get used to playing in a match environment again before official tournaments. Clubs may want to organise one-off matches or even invite a few teams for a small tournament.
Further in-depth guidelines relating to hosting events will be released in the coming weeks. However, if you are organising a fixture or friendly tournament, it is important that you take reasonable precautions to ensure that players and volunteers are safe during this time.
To help clubs who are uncertain, we have proposed some base guidelines for hosting small fixtures and events in this window.
- Keep it small and local. For a one-day event, having 3-4 nearby teams will provide plenty of opportunity for matches.
- Volunteers in close proximity, such as Scorekeeper and Timekeepers, should wear masks.
- Balls and Brooms must be disinfected and sanitised between games.
- Avoid any sharing of headbands or bibs wherever possible.
- Traveling from overseas to attend any tournament or training is still prohibited.
- Avoid or limit use of indoor spaces as much as possible.
- Players and volunteers should not remain indoors and a one way system should be utilised wherever possible.
- Keep track of attendance. It’s vital to know if anyone has developed symptoms or reported a positive COVID test after the event, so please be aware of who has attended and ask attendees to report to the organisers in such a case.
- If possible, ensure attendees have a negative COVID-19 test prior to the event. Test kits can be obtained directly from the government here.
2021-22 Season Structure
QuidditchUK are pleased to announce our provisional plans for the 2021-22 season structure.
We really appreciate your patience with us in releasing this plan, and it could not have been developed without the invaluable feedback from the recent round table discussions, for which public minutes have been released.
The current provisional plan is subject to change based on coronavirus guidance issued by governments and local authorities in England, Scotland, and Wales. Everything listed is still subject to change based on the ever shifting nature of the pandemic, but we are confident that we will see a return to official competition in the coming months.
As well as this, Quidditch Europe are yet to finalise dates for either of the European Quidditch Cup Divisions, so our calendar for Spring 2022 is slightly uncertain until we hear from them. We have date ranges already (April AND May 2022) and a meeting is scheduled between NGBs and Quidditch Europe this coming weekend (June 5th) so we assume this will be confirmed shortly. Once those are decided and our venues are booked, we will confirm finalised dates.
We have chosen not to specify venues or cities yet at this stage, but we have specified the regions we expect to be hosting some events in. We are in discussions with venues concerning all of our events, and will release details as soon as appropriate; please bear with us though, as our venues are also awaiting a go ahead post June 21st.
We are also conscious of potential future COVID-19 spikes in the colder months of the year which may prevent events from taking place. Should this happen, we do have alternative events pencilled for our University members who compete in predominantly winter months. This may take the shape of a University Cup or QuidditchUK resourcing local leagues with equipment and volunteers through covering certain expenses.
We can also confirm that QuidditchUK has retained our ten EQC spots with no changes to seeding, with five at both Division 1 and Division 2 respectively.
A brief calendar of events has been summarised in the following table.
TEAL = Southern Event with League. / MAGENTA= Northern Event within League. / NOTE: July, December, January, March and May haven't been highlighted in comparison to other months that are actually hosting official QUK events.
BLUE = Community League Event / RED = University League Event / ORANGE = European Qualifier Event / PURPLE = British Quidditch Cup / GREEN = Development Cup
Amending the 1st Draft
Attendees of QuidditchUK’s recent round table consultation will notice that there have been some changes to the proposed ideal plan as outlined at this meeting. These key differences are:
- We have added an additional week of full-contact training time from June 21st reopening and our first competitive event on August 14th.
- There is no longer a two-day community event to round off the first half of the community season. This is after most round table attendees expressed a preference for the one-day events and little interest in the second day of the final community league fixture.
- The European Qualifier Tournament has been moved from December to February.
Below, we have summarised the nature events that we plan to host this season. Further information including seeding, tournament formats, volunteer requirements will be released closer to the time.
New Events Structure
QuidditchUK events this season will be a lot different from the 2019/20 season structure, as admitted previously at last year's Annual General Meeting (Page 5). Instead of having the tradditional Northern/Southern split complimented by national tournaments at the end of the seasonal calendar - the following event types will be:
Community League Fixtures
The Community League will consist of three divisions each with approximately five teams.
Seeding into divisions will be based on most recent QuidditchUK tournament results, with new teams defaulting to the bottom division. At each event teams will play a round robin with other teams in their division.
From these games, teams in each division are ranked. The top team from Division 2 and Division 3 will be promoted, and the bottom team from Division 1 and Division 2 will be relegated. Final rankings, after all three fixtures, will be used to determine seeding and/or qualification for EQT and BQC.
University Regional Fixtures
University teams will either play in the Northern or Southern region.
Similarly to the community league fixtures, each region will be divided into two or three divisions based on attending teams, each with 4-6 teams in each division.
Teams will play a round robin within each division and be ranked within divisions accordingly.
The top and bottom teams in each division will be relegated and promoted between divisions automatically similar to the structure of the Community Divisions, Final rankings, after all fixtures, will be used to determine seeding and/or qualification for EQT and BQC.
European Qualifier Tournament
EQT is an opt-in tournament for both university and community teams.
The top teams at this tournament will be put forward to represent the UK at European Quidditch Cup in Divisions 1 and 2, with their overall result determining their seeding.
The maximum number of teams that may attend the tournament will be 20. If more teams than this apply to attend the tournament, their rankings at either University Regional Tournaments or the Community League Fixtures will be used to determine who has priority to attend.
British Quidditch Cup
BQC is an invitational tournament for university and community teams, with qualification determined based on respective league performances.
12 community teams will compete in the Community Flight and 12 university teams will compete in the University Flight. Distribution of Northern/Southern spots will be weighted by the number of teams who have registered and competed in each region.
Any teams that do not qualify for BQC are eligible to attend Development Cup, including any teams which did not attend the community or university league fixtures. There will be no qualification for BQC via Development Cup this season.