The Hockey Paper has been publishing stories on England Hockey’s proposed restructure since December in our print editions. Here, we reproduce some of those items.
We have been made aware of input from a large club based in the East who have produced analysis of what happens to their fixture list under the new England Hockey proposals. It shows the following:
‘Our Ladies’ 1s would only play two of the 11 clubs they are playing this season; Our Men’s 2s would only play one other club of the 11 we currently play in the London Premier League; Our Men’s 3s to 8s and Ladies’ 2s to 4s currently play 24 other clubs in our county and region. Under the proposals they would only play seven of those. In other words we would no longer play 17 neighbouring clubs.
‘Our men play in the SW quarter of our region which has eight divisions. The London NE sub-area would have just three divisions. 14 of the 43 teams in that sub-area would be from our club and one other’.
Their chairman says: “There are not enough clubs or teams in each area and sub-area and clubs would no longer be playing clubs of the right equivalent standard.”
Meanwhile, England Hockey’s proposals will have a far reaching and long lasting impact on hockey generally and how and where it is played locally, say Old Loughtonians HC.
According to the club website, it supports the proposals insofar as they relate to the standardisation of league rules and regulations but (in common with other local clubs) has concerns regarding the replacement of the five Regional and County structures with eight smaller area and sub-area structures, as well as the viability of smaller pools of clubs and teams to play against, especially if some local clubs will play in a new Greater London Area whilst other local clubs will stay in the East leagues.
The club is also concerned by the lack of specific facts as to how the proposals will be implemented with the majority of the work to finalise the proposals being left until after clubs have voted.
What league would my team be playing in from Sep 2021?
A new Greater London League would be created, for both men’s and women’s adult teams, from clubs that choose Greater London as their ‘home’ Area. The new league would have a standard pyramid structure, and be a feeder league to the national league. Existing leagues, including this league, would be disbanded. This is radical, but would solve a raft of structural and geographical anomalies.
This would deal with the long-standing saga we’ve had with the South Men’s League – which is still not satisfactorily resolved – and reduce travel time for most teams. What the final pyramid structure would be is currently a matter of debate, with EH proposing models for London for clubs to support. Some clubs are seeking absolute certainty before taking a view on the whole package of changes, but the majority seem to regard the models as a starting point; clubs will be able to decide changes in the future where needed, so there is no need to delay. It seems that some organisations are opposed to the proposals. But clubs should understand that it is your votes that count on 17 March, rather than the views of your county, region or league.
David Lloyd-Williams, London Hockey League chair