Coastal Sports

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A Cautionary Tale: How Venue Shortcomings Led to Cutting Teams from a World Championship

2 Nov, 2016

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

A small seaside host city and an enormously growing sport, mixed with accusations of a lack of communication, was the unfortunate combination that resulted in a large-scale disappointment for the World Championships of Beach Ultimate. And for sports planners, it goes under the headline of Don’t Let This Happen to You.

At least 33 member national associations are set to miss out on competing at the 2017 World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) World Championships of Beach Ultimate, after the sport's governing body received too many applications from teams wishing to take part in the event.

According to an article in Inside The Games, WFDF President Robert Rauch claimed bids were received from 200 teams from 47 different member l associations for the competition, due to be held in Royan in France from June 18-24.

As a result, WFDF went into crisis mode, trying to control damages. WFDF noted on its website that organizers spent two weeks looking at possible ways to meet the new demands with specific attention on the venue, transport, accommodations, security, first aid, communications and tourism. Working within the constraints of the facilities available both at the venue and within the small seaside town, and keeping within the limitations imposed by local and regional authorities, the TOC was able to increase their hosting ability quite substantially but nowhere near enough to meet the full demand.

The competition will now host 120 teams, almost double the 65 who participated at the 2015 World Championships of Beach Ultimate in Dubai. The organizing committee and the WFDF had anticipated bids from 75 to 80 teams for 2017, with the worldwide governing body admitting the demand for the event was “unprecedented and unexpected.”

Rauch said the decision was “regrettable.”

The format of the tournament had to be modified in order to accommodate the number of players the event will be able to host. Team sizes and registrations have been restricted for the event, according to the WFDF, with 15 players on each side and one non-playing member allowed per team.

Part of the problem, say those who did not get into the tournament, was a lack of transparency on organizers’ part. In a statement, the WFDF said they “acted immediately upon receiving the late surge of expressions of interest coming in just before the deadline.” However, they noted, “it has taken some time to work with the organizing committee to investigate all possible avenues to enable more teams and players to participate.”

But Rauch said organizers have learned something from the unfortunate turn of events and may be able to accommodate more teams in the future.

“WFDF will look at the possibility to split out the masters’ divisions for future Beach Ultimate events, opening up the ability for maximum participation across all divisions.”

As the sport’s growth continues, this incident is likely to affect bid requirements in terms of host cities and venues, as well as the length of the world championships. It may also lead to an early announcement regarding a capping of the number of entrants.

Rauch says WFDF is determined not to repeat this particular passage of history. However, he noted, the demand to participate was unexpected, and “we fell victim to our own success.”

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