Competition Review Update & 2019 Dates

Thanks for all the input we have received regarding the club competition structure.  This process is and will remain ongoing.  In the meantime we clearly need to publish dates and locations for the 2019 season so that teams and players can plan their year.  Please see below.  

 

There is a little more detail below, but very briefly:

  • We will retain a split season for the time being, with mixed being played first in 2019.  
  • Regionals-Nationals will stay at the same point in the calendar in 2019, and will feature North and South Regionals in all three divisions.
  • We will retain an official UKU National Rankings list.  The scoring system will be updated - in particular to make sure that it copes better with teams competing at different events of varying strength at the same time.
    • Regionals & Nationals will both also become ranking events - i.e. teams will score ranking points based on their results at Regionals and Nationals. 
    • The rankings will be used as part of the entry criteria to some “Tier One” events, and will be used as the basis for seeding at most ranking events. 
  • We are going to continue the move to “break up” some of the larger Tour events with a view to providing and encouraging more smaller, “local” events.  To do this we are defining two “tiers” of ranking events.
    • The “tier” does NOT correspond directly to the competitive level of the teams, and it is intended that when there are no “Tier One” tournaments, that the strongest teams will choose to attend “Tier Two” tournament(s).
  • It is not a UKU goal to directly organise all events; it is our preference to have more events being run by local clubs with, or without, UKU support.
   

Provisional Calendar & Events Plan 2019

 
  • Mixed
    • [Round 1] 30-31 March
      • Tier One (all teams): Cardiff 
    • [Round 2] 27-28 April
      • Tier One (16 teams): Durham 
      • Tier Two (12-16 teams): Durham 
      • Tier Two (16-24 teams): South England - BIDS REQUESTED
        • 2x smaller events in south also an option
    • [Round 3] 11-12 May OR preferably 18-19 May
      • Tier Two (8-12 teams): Scotland/North-West - BIDS REQUESTED
      • Tier Two (16-20 teams): South-West - BIDS REQUESTED
      • Tier Two (16-20 teams): South-East - BIDS REQUESTED
  • Women’s
    • [Round 1] 1-2 June 
      • Tier One (all teams): Nottingham Windfarm 
    • [Round 2] 22-23 OR 29-30 June
      • Tier Two (6-12 teams): North-West England
      • Tier Two (10-16 teams): South West / South Coast England 
    • [Round 3] 13-14 July or 20-21 July
      • Tier One (all teams): Birmingham (*)
  • Open
    • [Round 1] 1-2 June 
      • Tier One (all teams): Nottingham Windfarm: all teams
    • [Round 2] 22-23 OR 29-30 June
      • Tier Two (12-16 teams): NW England or Scotland - BIDS REQUESTED
      • Tier Two (20-24 teams): SE / East England - BIDS REQUESTED
      • Tier Two (12-20 teams): SW / South Coast England - BIDS REQUESTED
    • [Round 3] 13-14 July or 20-21 July
      • Tier One (16 teams): Birmingham (*)
      • Tier Two (8-12 teams): Birmingham (*) 
      • Tier Two (12-20 teams): Venue TBD (SE England)
      • Tier Two (8-12 teams): North-East / Yorkshire - BIDS REQUESTED
    • [Round 4] 3-4 August
      • Regionals NORTH & SOUTH - Women’s, Mixed, Open
    • [Round 5] 24-25 August
      • Nationals (Midlands)
Realistically it is unlikely that all events and locations will work out exactly as above but the intent is to create space in the season for at least one round of smaller, “local” events.  

The dates and locations marked in bold have been confirmed.  
(*) The tournament at Birmingham 13-14 July is provisional.
 
 
Split-season
For both the Women’s and Mixed divisions we received compelling and clear feedback from key players and club organisers that we should continue to exert some “control” over the calendar, and in particular keep the split season.  We recognise that there are players in all three divisions that do not agree but the feedback suggests that until we have a larger total number of female players, overlapping the competitions would cause substantial problems for teams in both women’s and mixed divisions.
  • In 2019 there will continue to be a mixed season in the Spring and a single-gender season in June-July.  This structure is intended to allow a meaningful number of tournaments in both formats for players that want to play in some, or all, of both.
  • We will consult with players - but especially clubs entering UKU mixed club events -  directly on the question of reversing the season order in 2020.  Whilst we know that some players would like to play mixed events in the summer, we also know well that clubs and players benefit from consistency from year to year.

Regionals-Nationals & EUCS
In 2019 the timing and structure of Regionals and Nationals will look similar to 2018:
  • Two regional qualifiers (North & South) on 3-4 August in ALL THREE DIVISIONS.
  • Nationals (provisionally Moor Lane, Birmingham) on weekend of 24-25 August in ALL THREE DIVISIONS.
  • Nationals will continue to be merged with EUCR-West for the purposes of choosing qualifiers to EUCF.  The Irish teams will be eligible to win UKU Nationals.
For 2020 and beyond, the question of whether UKU Nationals will remain merged with EUCR-West - and the impact on the timing for Regionals and Nationals - remains under review.  It is our intention to split UKU Nationals from EUCR-West so that UKU retains full control of how, when and where UKU Nationals is organised.


Changes to UKU Tour & UKU Rankings
Perhaps the area of widest agreement in the consultation was a desire for less travel; but alongside an understanding that the size of the player base means there are limits to how much this can be done.
 
We will be de-emphasizing The Tour as a three-tournament competition, but will retain the notion of UKU Rankings.  Ranking events will be split into two tiers with the primary goal of encouraging a culture shift towards smaller, “local” tournaments.
  • Entry to Tier 2 events will be governed primarily by clubs’ proximity to the event venue.
  • Entry to Tier 1(*) events will be governed (for UK clubs) by their ranking at the entry closing date. Some space may be reserved for international clubs and/or GB-based training teams.
  • Ranking points awarded will be higher at Tier 1 tournaments.
  • Teams are not expected nor required to attend all events.
  • The UKU Rankings list will “roll” all-year round.  We aim to encourage Tier Two ranking events to take place at other times of year - e.g. during August or September.
(*) Regionals and Nationals will also be Tier One events for purposes of awarding ranking points, but they will differ from other events as follows:
  • Different entry criteria - Regionals is open to all teams; Nationals is based on qualification from Regionals
  • Eligibility / roster rules will be more strict and must align with EUCS eligibility rules
In 2019 we intend to run and/or coordinate five “rounds” where ranking events will take place (including Regionals & Nationals) in each of the three divisions.  There is no expectation or requirement that teams attend all five rounds.
  
We are finalising a process by which clubs or individuals can bid to host ranking events.   
 
 
Additional Comments re Women’s Division
Currently the women’s division is smaller than the Mixed and Open divisions - approx one-third the size in terms of number of teams that enter club competitions.  Consequently in 2019 we are taking a different approach to the Open division and plan to host all of the Women’s teams at a single venue for the Round 3 (July) event when the Open teams are “split up” - this may be easier to follow by looking at the calendar outline above.  It is our working assumption that as the division grows, the structure will adapt accordingly and is likely to follow the set up in the other divisions.
 
To address the question around the need for development/support in Women’s Ultimate we also plan to create time and field space in the schedule for a women’s development series. The aim being to create a model through which players from across the division can come together. Attendance will be optional and the format will vary depending on interest and suggestions from players, clubs and leaders in Women’s Ultimate - examples might include skills clinics, mixer games, or discussions to share information about best practice and challenges that teams are facing.
 
 
Further Notes about UKU National Championships and UKU Rankings
This section is intended to provide summary description of both the UKU National Championships and the UKU Rankings.  It is deliberate that there is overlap with some of the information above.
  
UKU National Championships series
  • Annual competition to determine the UKU National Champions in three club divisions: Mixed, Open, Women’s.
  • The competition is also part of the annual European Ultimate Championships Series (EUCS).
    • 2019: Regionals -> Nationals (EUCR-W) [ -> European Finals (EUCF) ].
  • We encourage ALL teams in the UK to enter Regionals.  All teams are welcome.
  • Qualification to Nationals is based on results at Regionals.
  • Eligibility/roster rules relating to Regionals->Nationals->EUCF are independent of those rules at other UKU competitions.
UKU Rankings
  • UKU Rankings provide all club teams with an indication of where they stand against other teams in their division around the UK.  
  • Ranking points are awarded at UKU Rankings tournaments.
  • A team’s ranking is calculated from their best(*) results at “ranking tournaments” over the last year or so(*), and will “roll” all-year round.
  • As of 2019, UKU Rankings tournaments are split into two “tiers”.  In the future we may introduce additional tiers of competition.
  • In terms of UKU Rankings points, Tier One tournaments are worth more than Tier Two tournaments.
  • UKU sets a period of the calendar to be the “mixed season” during which it will only grant rankings points to mixed division competitions; and an “open/women’s season” during which it will only grant ranking points to open and/or women’s division competitions.
    • It is expected that this approach will be relaxed at some point in the future.  No date has been set. 
  • UKU will host a number of Tier One and Tier Two ranking tournaments every year.
  • Our goal is to ensure that all teams have access to at least 4 “rounds” of ranking tournaments each year.
  • We aim to encourage other organisers to host Tier Two competitions throughout the year so that teams have access to more than 4 rounds.
  • Regionals and Nationals are Tier One ranking tournaments.
  • Entry to the other Tier One events will be based on the rankings; entry to Tier Two events will be based on the club and event’s location.
  • Teams can enter as many ranking events as they like.
  • We definitely do NOT aim to encourage all tournaments to become ranking tournaments.
(*) Algorithm is being reviewed