Welcome to the website of the British Volleyball Federation.
This site contains information on the Great Britain Beach, Indoor and Sitting Volleyball squads as they continue their progress after a successful 2012 London Olympic Games.
The purpose of this ‘Open Letter’ is to renew our communications with all volleyball players, volunteers and fans by updating you all on the current status of the sport, the challenges we are facing and share our initial thoughts on going forward.
Firstly, as the new President of the BVF, I would like to say how honored and excited I am to be part of rebuilding volleyball at the elite level in GB. As a former volleyball player myself, I have been very impressed with the British Volleyball achievements at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, knowing where it came from and the very limited funding available. I know that it took tremendous passion, dedication and sacrifice from all. On behalf of the BVF, I would like to thank Richard Callicott OBE, Kenny Barton and everyone involved in the lead up to London 2012.
Sadly, since London 2012 the BVF has gone through a challenging environment with the loss of funding and staff to support all programmes except for Women’s Beach Volleyball. This is due to the ever-increasing demands to achieve Olympic/Paralympic success, not least in qualifying for Rio 2016 and the subsequent ‘no compromise’ approach to funding.
As a result of this approach and very strict funding criteria where a sport is only invested in should it be perceived to have the potential to result in a 4th-8th place finish at Rio 2016 as a minimum or a clear and credible medal potential in Tokyo, we have unfortunately heard last week that the Women’s Beach Volleyball high performance programme has not been selected for further funding. This means that we currently have no elite funding for volleyball of any discipline.
Regular dialogue has taken place between the International Federations and funding partners as well as the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the British Paralympic Association (BPA) in trying to find a solution for less developed team sports that require more resources. Richard Callicott OBE was instrumental in highlighting the issue, so much so that there is now official recognition that there is a gap between ‘grass roots’ and ‘high performance’ funding that sport governing bodies are trying to address.
Let’s now move to the more positive news and our initial position on going forward!
We had great news recently for Sitting Volleyball as both teams qualified for the World Championships. We are doing our utmost to get access to funding to enable the teams to participate on the stage where they belong.
UK Sport had previously agreed to fund two players (Lucy Boulton and Zara Dampney) as part of the funding for Rio under a new programme called the Small Sport Investment Option (SSIO). At the end of 2013 both players decided to retire from international competition and as such, the funding from UK Sport has ceased. A new business case, based around new athletes, was presented to UK Sport at the investment funding review at the end of last year. It was well received and complemented for its quality and evidence based approach proving that British Volleyball has all the ingredients, a credible platform in place to generate high performance outcomes. The challenge now is to keep this support programme alive whilst we rebuild our elite programme in this discipline.
At Senior Level Scotland and Northern Ireland are participating in the Small Countries Divisions European Championships. In addition you may be aware that Volleyball England under the new Performance Commission President, Andrew Pink, are currently carrying out a review concerning previous decisions relating to their senior teams.
We are delighted to report that all the Home Nations currently have active junior programmes and are participating in a wide range of competitions. For example VE recently participated and hosted NEVZA championships and European Championships 1st round at age group level and Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will all participate in junior competitions across small countries events.
We will be working at National and BVF level to provide a clear strategic direction for indoor programmes in the future.
In the lead up to the London 2012 Olympics, the FIVB and CEV gave dispensation for the four home nations to amalgamate as Team GB in order to prepare and compete at the Games. It has been confirmed that this dispensation will no longer continue and that we must return to competing as Home Nation Teams. However CEV have indicated that they would consider the participation of a Great Britain Team in the European League (indoors) in future years.
The BVF will work with the Home Nations to review the performance strategy that will also recommend the method of engagement and competition for 2016 onwards.
In the meantime any junior and senior activity would need to be based on Home Nation programmes. The only exception is Sitting Volleyball: World ParaVolley recognise Great Britain and as such Sitting Volleyball teams would compete under the British flag. Development programmes for Sitting Volleyball will remain the responsibility of the Home Nations.
Recent changes in governance have included the appointment of three Non-Executive Directors, the election of a new Chair and the confirmation of the remainder of the board.
You can find details on the website. The new appointments added more in depth commercial and legal skills to the Board that would help in current environment.
The BVF will continue to focus on performance and represent the Home Nations in their dialogue with the BOA, BPA and UK Sport. In the next few months the BVF will work with the Home Nations to review their individual and collective performance plans for all disciplines: indoor, beach, sitting and junior. We will communicate these to you in due course.
Absence of any funding for the elite volleyball programmes in any discipline clearly represents a very challenging operational environment.
Currently the BVF does not have staff or premises. Volleyball England was managing the delivery of the Beach Women’s Programme funded by UK Sport on behalf of the BVF through a service level agreement. Following UK Sport’s decision not to resume funding for new programme, we will have to decide how we intend to operate in the future. Our current priority will have to be fund raising.
In summary, the BVF recognises the significant challenges it is facing in trying to keep British Volleyball developing and participating on the world stage. We will continue to work with UK Sport, the BOA, International Agencies, etc but in parallel we will have to start looking into additional funding opportunities including commercial sponsorships and new innovative sources such as CrowdFunding. This is not going to be easy given the current economic environment and the absence of elite programmes but we have to do our best for this exciting team sport!
This is all for now and I hope that this goes somewhere to rectifying the lack of communication over the past 18 months. We promise to keep you up-to-date with major developments through the news page on the site and further Communications that we are planning to do, at least every 6 months.
In the meantime please feel free to provide your feedback / suggestions, offer your views on the future of the British Volleyball by contacting us at email@example.com
Alla Main – President, British Volleyball Federation
Wayne Coyle – President Volleyball England
Mel Coutts - President, Scottish Volleyball Association
Yvonne Saker – President, Volleyball Wales
Paddy Murphy – President, Northern Ireland Volleyball Association
Paralympian Martine Wright, who survived the July 7 bombings, has revealed her inspirational story is to be told in a major feature film.
“Following a thorough evidence based submission to UK Sport of the Women’s Beach Volleyball Programme for ‘high performance’ funding, today we heard the news that the Programme will no longer receive any funded support"
After terrific progress and great performances from GB Volleyball athletes in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, what happens now?
British Performance Volleyball is going through a very interesting and challenging time at the moment, the Zero Rio Funding awarded by UK Sport to Volleyball and Sitting Volleyball, as well as the somewhat limited Small Sport Funding to two of our Beach Volleyball women, all combines to concentrate the mind on the best way forward for the performance end of our sport.
We have begun working with the four Home Nations, UK Sport officials, partners, and with senior officials from CEV and FIVB who have all offered to work with us to ensure we find the best way forward for GBR teams. All bodies recognise that what we achieved, in raising the competitive level of GBR teams over the past few years, has been hugely significant, with GBR teams now occupying lofty world rankings having progressed from very low levels from five years ago.
CEV and FIVB have recently decided that the GBR recognition agreement, which was in place up to the end of the London Games, will not be extended for the moment, meaning the Home Nation countries have the opportunity to participate in early rounds of the 2014 FIVB World Championships. It is a matter for the Home Nation volleyball associations to decide whether they have the funding and time to prepare their teams. To recognise future progress, and build on what has been achieved, we have been offered the opportunity for GBR teams to participate in the annual European League competitions from 2014, conditional to agreeing an appropriate 4 year plan with FIVB, Home Nations and with the British Government. Work on this plan is already underway.
Although the main British Volleyball office in the EIS Sheffield is closing, and all current full-time staff will be gone by late March, the BVF Board, led by President Richard Callicott and Home Nation representatives, will continue working hard to find partners and sponsors who would be interested to work with us to ensure British athletes continue to participate at the very highest level of what is a major world Sport.
If you would like to investigate the possibility of becoming involved with supporting our great athletes on the continuing journey of British Volleyball please do not hesitate to get in touch with the BVF through firstname.lastname@example.org
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