EGM – 2 March 2020 – England Hockey Governance Review

February 15, 2020

ENGLAND HOCKEY GOVERNANCE REVIEW

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT SOUTHGATE HOCKEY CLUB?

A BRIEF Q & A

 

England Hockey (EH) has been reviewing the structure of hockey in conjunction with clubs, associations and leagues. This was undertaken at the request of clubs to simplify, standardise and provide consistency to the way hockey is played in England.

A structure was sought to provide all clubs with a pyramid structure to flow up to the very top of the domestic game. Common rules and regulations concerning, for example, player registration, result reporting etc. were requested. A reduction in travel times, particularly at the lower tiers of the game, is desirable and can encourage more people to continue to play or take up hockey and accommodate the sport within busy schedules.

The result is in the EH document Structure Fit for the Future and this is available to read here if you scroll to the bottom of the page.

The document should be read by all members as it affects all of us. The Q & A below has been prepared to help you recognise some of the impact on Southgate and the teams we play for within the Club.

What is happening?

The complete overhaul of the League and governance structure of hockey in England. All current organisations leagues, associations, umpires associations etc) will be dissolved and re-emerge under the new structure under the overarching governance of EH.

All regulations and governance will be common to the new geographic Areas and apply consistently to the National Premier clubs down to the lowest leagues. Obviously, different, and lower, level of regulation is required at lower levels of competition, but consistency is the aim across all Areas.

The current league structure will be replaced by 8 Areas all equally represented in the hockey pyramid with promotions and relegations flowing all the way through. The aim of these new geographic areas is to provide smaller areas (less travel) and equal opportunity.

Each club will belong to one area for ALL competitions, all teams, men’s and women’s sides. However, Boundary Clubs (Southgate is one) have some options, see below.

A good example of the impact here is the Men’s London League. Currently this is a very successful and competitive League. However, there is no direct feeder system for teams to flow from winning the London Premier League into the National structure. The new London Area will provide this, so that the London champions will be promoted up to the National Conference (which will now have 4 geographic divisions).

The 8 Areas are:

  • London
  • Midlands
  • South
  • East
  • North East
  • North West
  • South West
  • South Central

Many clubs will not really be affected and some new Area Leagues (e.g. East) may look very similar to the current structure in terms of constituent teams.

The EH document Structure Fit for the Future contains all the detail, please read it!

When is it happening?

The aim is to have the new League structure in place for the start of season 2021/22. This is a tight timetable. Promotions and relegations for this season and next season (2020/21) will determine which divisions teams will play in for the new format season of 2021/22.

What is a Boundary Club and what options does this give us?

A Boundary Club is a club which is located near to the border of two (or more) of the new Areas. Southgate is a Boundary Club. Following our discussions, Boundary Clubs will nominate a Primary Area for its top teams and main competitions. Boundary Clubs will be able (as many do now) to join the bordering Area for lower teams (below the current Premier B level).

Southgate’s working assumption at the moment is that we will nominate London Area as our Primary Area and so all our teams (men and women) will play in the London Area except for our current men’s East League teams which will nominate to play in the East Area (very similar to now).

Where does Southgate sit in the new structure compared to now?

As stated above, Southgate’s working assumption at the moment is that we will nominate London Area as our Primary Area and so all our teams (men and women) will play in the London Area except for our current men’s East League teams which will nominate to play in the East Area (very similar to now).

As things currently stand, where will the Ladies section play in the structure?

The current South League where the Ladies section currently plays will be significantly different. The South League will be divided into three.

On our current assumption all the Ladies teams will play in the London Area except, of course, the First Team who are in the National East Conference.

The top three divisions of the Ladies London Area will be all London-wide divisions. Our Ladies 2’s will play (on current league standings) in these divisions and so will travel North and South of the river.

The remaining divisions in the London Area will be divided into North and South London with our 3’s, 4’s and 5’s playing in the North London sub-Area. There will be several divisions and promotion/relegation between divisions and up into the higher All London-wide divisions.

There will be two more promotion/relegation seasons (this one and 2020/21) before the new structure. It will be the final season 2020/21 league positions which will determine which divisions and how high up the pyramid our teams will start the new London Area structure.

Please note the geographic split is still a work in progress as are the number of clubs in these areas. The detail will be sorted out if the Resolution is passed and will be sorted out by the clubs in the region themselves under the guidance of EH.

Where will the Men’s teams play?

As stated above, we currently assume that we will elect to play our senior men’s teams in the new London Area and elect to field our East League teams in the new East Area.

So, the Men’s First Team will continue to play National Division 1 South (unless promoted or relegated) then our 2’s, 3’s, 4’s and 5’s will play London Area divisions. Our 3A’s, Tankards A, Tankards Y and Tankards Z will all play in the East Area Divisions.

Based on league positions in December 2019, our 2’s will play London Premier division with the winner of that division being promoted to National Conference (which become 4 equal conferences).  Our 3’s will compete in one of three all London-wide divisions.

The remaining divisions in the London Area will be divided into North and South London with our 4’s and 5’s playing in the North London sub-Area. There will be several divisions and promotion/relegation between divisions and up into the higher All London-wide divisions.

There will be two more promotion/relegation seasons (this one and 2020/21) before the new structure. It will be the final season 2020/21 league positions which will determine which divisions and how high up the pyramid our teams will start the new London Area structure.

Please note the geographic split is still a work in progress as are the number of clubs in these areas. The detail will be sorted out if the Resolution is passed and will be sorted out by the clubs in the region themselves under the guidance of EH.

Which other Clubs will we play against in the new London Area?

Men’s Section – 2s and 3s competing in the All London top leagues (consisting of three divisions). 4s and 5s in London North.

There should be good diversity of competition amongst Clubs. 2s and 3s in All London divisions made up of 26 Clubs and 35 teams, including Indian Gymkhana, Old Loughtonians, Hampstead & Westminster, Wapping, Old Georgians’s. 4s and 5s in North sub-area of 22 Clubs and 83 teams. Not dissimilar to current London League setup.

Our East League teams will we believe stay in a very similar structure to current East.

Women’s Section – 2s in All London top league. 3s, 4s and 5s in London North. Plenty of diversity. Here the All London divisions have 22 Clubs and 36 teams. London North has 60 teams from 22 Clubs. Lots of familiar names.

The above analysis, of course, depends on final choices by Boundary Clubs. Note, divisions are indicative, based on League standings in December 2019 so there will be two sets of promotions/relegations before the new structures kick in.

Which Southgate teams are most affected?

The biggest impact for the Southgate teams, as things stand, will be on the Ladies section below the First Team and the Men’s Second Team.

The Ladies will all move out of the South League jurisdiction and into London Area. They will drop some long journeys to the West and gain some new opposition to the South and east of London. There will always be one or two tricky journeys to negotiate.

The Men’s Second Team will move from South Premier League structure (after just two seasons) into London area and similar to the old London League. However, promotion from London Area can now be directly into the National set up and they will reunite with some old rivals in London (and hopefully travel shorter distances).

What about the Masters’ teams?

There will be no immediate change to the men’s Masters league structure in the current London League. It is expected that there will be changes over time to men’s and women’s Masters provision to fit better within the new Areas, thereby reducing travel time. This largely depends on clubs creating new Masters teams.

What about the Juniors?

Like the Masters, the plans for juniors are still to be developed. The aims of reducing travel time but also improving the standard of competition is key. A flexible approach, cutting across the new Area boundaries is anticipated and will be developed as part of the next stages.

What decisions need to be taken and when?

The first decision is either to support or to reject the EH Resolution embodied in Structure Fit for the Future. This will be at the EH AGM on 17 March 2020.

If this is supported then the next decision point for Southgate is, as a Boundary Club, to elect a Primary Area and any other “boundary areas” for our teams. This is to be done between April and August 2020.

All current paying Southgate members can have their say. We are holding an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) for all to discuss the proposals. This will be held on Monday 2nd March 2020 at 7.30 pm at the Club. Please read the documents and come and join us.

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