At the PA NSW half-yearly meeting on October 25th 2020 the PA NSW Board recommended that NSW decline the invitation from the Warwick Polocrosse Club to attend Barastoc in April 2021. The Board acknowledges that this has been contentious for some, and would like to highlight the reasons behind the decision and solicit feedback from the wider membership.
The Board recognises that attendance at Barastoc has been a long standing practice. However a wide range of factors were considered:
- With the loss of the 2020 season due to COVID, the Board’s primary focus is for a safe, broad based resumption of the sport in 2021. The current scheduling of Barastoc 2021 in April is in the prime time for resumption of club polocrosse. The loss of that weekend, plus the likely loss of the weekends either side, significantly impacts on the ability for all participants to resume our sport.
- Further, scheduling a week following the Albury Junior Classic has been highlighted as being potentially detrimental to both player and horse welfare for those wishing to attend both events, and in the past has been raised as a major obstacle in effectively running the Junior Classic Event. This issue has been a point of contention over several years, with several requests to the Warwick Club to accommodate this factor being declined. Similarly, PA NSW Board requested that the Warwick Club consider rescheduling Barastoc to later in 2021, in part at least, for this reason. This request was declined.
- COVID has had a significant impact on the finances of the PA NSW and most likely impacted on the finances of members and families. The income stream for 2021 remains uncertain, and as our sport requires both travel and overnight camping, we are at particularly high risk of Public Health Orders restricting our activities.
- The Board are in the final stages of arranging refund of fees for the 2020 season, which are expected to be in the order of $30,000. The refunding of fees collected on behalf of the state mean that there has been no significant income in 2020 aside from grant monies received from the NSW Office of Sport. These grants are, as a condition of their receipt, specifically segregated for activities related to the resumption of community level sport post-COVID over the 2021 – 2022 seasons.
- The cost of attending Barastoc to the PA NSW, and players and supporters is significant.
- The Board is conscious of the widespread public backlash that followed the $10 p.a. levy imposed upon all members of our sport to fund the 2019 World Cup. In response, both the PAA and the PA NSW have moved towards models in which elite sport is self-funding.
- Collectively, in reviewing the reduced income from the 2020 season, the uncertainty surrounding the financial wellbeing of the sport going into 2021 and significant cost of attendance at Barastoc, the Board does not consider expenditure on a specific event for a few participants to be in the best interests of the general membership at this point in time. Instead, the Board’s financial focus is on ensuring that the membership fees for 2021 are as low as possible for all members to promote engagement in our sport as broadly as possible.
- A significant amount of resources are required to attend representative events, at multiple levels - the Board, SEO, various Officials, selectors, coaches and team managers. At the onset of COVID the Board made the difficult decision to stand-down the SEO. Since that time all functions of the PA NSW have been conducted on a volunteer basis. In anticipation for the 2021 season, the Board is in the process of appointing an SEO. However, a significant body of work needs to be done to restart the sport, consolidating existing and implementing new policies and procedures, and forward planning towards the 2022 Nationals. Within these broad demands SEO time will be a scarce and valuable resource in 2021.
- As such, similar to the financial implications, the Board’s primary focus is to ensure SEO and State resource allocation across the breadth of the sport for the greatest benefit of the membership.
- With the loss of the 2020 season, it is not considered feasible to select representative teams for competition in April 2021, a point that was echoed by several state selectors at the half-yearly meeting. This is particularly relevant for junior competition, but equally the absence of play in 2020 excludes all players from being able to be selected fairly. As discussed above, the PA NSW proposed a brief delay to the 2021 Barastoc event to accommodate this matter, among others, but the request was declined.
- The Board remains strongly supportive of representative polocrosse. To ensure elite players within NSW get adequate opportunity, and in preparation for the 2022 Nationals, the Board has formally written to the QPA to invite them to an interstate event proposed to be held at Cassilis on Sept 17-19, 2021, is currently liaising with the ASHS for an event at the National Show in Tamworth, and the Board is working to ensure viable Club and Zone championships in the later part of the season. These championships are particularly important to ensure that state representation occurs under fair selection conditions.
The Board remains in discussions with the Albury-Holbrook Polocrosse Club as to the potential format of the 2021 Albury Junior Classic and are optimistic that these discussions will be fruitful and allow development opportunities for our junior participants.
The Board is hopeful that the above provides a greater level of transparency and understanding as to the factors behind the difficult decision to decline the invitation to the April 2021 Barastoc event.
The Board actively solicits feedback, whether in agreement or against, from the membership with regards to this matter and requests that all feedback be provided in writing to email@example.com by December 14th, 2020 at the latest.
Polocrosse Association of NSW
South Australian Polocrosse are running several Multi Horse carnivals and Coaching Clinics in January 2021 at Naracoorte.
SA welcome any players who would like to go over for two consecutive weekends of polocrosse (and an awesome coaching clinic in between).
Could be a good holiday option for NSW players!
Please see Flyers below for details
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