GB Open – an extension of Clapham Ultimate?

UK Ultimate have announced the trial dates for GB Open, and released information about how closely tied to Clapham Ultimate the team will be.

There has been debate recently about whether the UK could improve its international performance by adopting a similar system to the USA. In the USA, the National Champions are chosen to represent the USA at the next international competition – whereas traditionally in the UK, the UKU appoint managers for GB Open, who then hold trials and select the best players from around the country, training one or two weekends per month in the run-up to the next nations tournament.

The benefits of both systems, and whether the UK should follow the USA, has debated recently in a series of well-timed articles on “Club or Country“, over at The ShowGame.

Back in October, the UKU announced Justin Foord and Marc Guilbert (both Clapham captains) would be running GB Open, and stated: “We cannot emphasise enough that we require the managers to run truly Great Britain teams that are absolutely not just an extension of club teams.” In their latest release of information, it’s clear the tie between Clapham and GB is very tight;

“GB Open practices will be in London, alongside Clapham Ultimate”
“GB Open tactics, structures and plays will be identical to those of CU”
“Frequency of training will depend on the time of the season but are likely to peak at 2-3 team trainings per week in the lead up to WUGC 2016”

Although the UKU go to efforts to assure us “this is not a club based national team“, there are undeniably stronger links than ever before between Clapham and GB Open – how likely is it that a player from Manchester, Devon, Bristol, Scotland, or Leeds will be able to attend regular weeknight trainings in central London? Have the UKU gone back on what they have said previously, or are they just allowing what is necessary for GB Open to reach the next level? What are the wider implications for the UK Ultimate community as a whole?

Have your say below!

Show full UKU announcement text

Original UKU PDF.

Update: UKU have posted a new statement in response to discussion on this topic

Pingu Jam disqualification rumours

At the end of Sunday of Nationals, rumours were awash about Pingu Jam (runners-up in the Mixed division & EUCF qualifiers) potentially being disqualified due to a roster violation.

Here’s what we know:

  • If a player plays for a team at Open Regionals and that team advances to Nationals, they are only eligible to play for that specific team at Nationals, regardless of division
  • Vision did not finish Regionals in a qualifying position
  • Sheffield dropped out of Nationals despite qualifying, as some of their players wished to play for a Women’s team at Nats
  • Vision filled Sheffield’s spot and were playing at Nationals
  • Pingu Jam were fielding a player all weekend who had played for Vision at Open Regionals
  • The UKU / Tournament organisers were not aware of this situation until part way through the day on Sunday

Thus, it appears the rostering rules at Nationals have been broken by a team/player who won a silver medal (as well as improving on their spirit from Tour) and are set to qualify for Europeans. Now the UKU has the tough decision of what, if anything, is to be done in reaction to such a breach.

What are the options they have on the table? How strict should they be with Pingu Jam, Vision, and/or the player in question? Does Vision’s late, space-filling entry into Nationals constitute extenuating circumstances? What if Pingu Jam / Vision were unaware this player was playing for the other team at the other event? What kind of response would be fair and appropriate for all teams and players concerned in this situation? Push Pass want to hear your opinion.

Push Pass filmed 17 games from UKU Nationals 2014, including Pingu Jam vs Thundering Herd, Brighton Breezy (semi / game-to-go) and vs Birmingham in the exciting Mixed Final. Watch the games here.