BVF to ‘unfund’ GB Women’s Programme

The GB women’s Head Coach Audrey Cooper has been informed that the British Volleyball Federation has decided that the GB Women’s programme will no longer be funded through their allocation of UK Sport Lottery Funding.

To say the least, the GB Women’s staff and players are astounded by this news. As we are sure you can appreciate, there are a variety of emotions right now and therefore it is best for us to take some time, understand what this means and the options it leaves us with on our journey towards London 2012. We will comment more as soon as possible.

The statement below was issued today, Wednesday 18th August, by the British Volleyball Federation.

Since 2006 the British Volleyball Federation has maintained its investment in the six Olympic and Paralympic disciplines under its control, with a view to allowing each squad to pursue its objective of competing with credibility in the London 2012 Games.

The Great Britain Volleyball programme is the largest of any team sport and consists of Indoor Volleyball for both men and women, Beach Volleyball for men and women, and Sitting (Paralympic) Volleyball for men and women.

All six teams have automatic host-country qualification for London 2012, as laid down by the respective international federations the FIVB and WOVD.

BVF President Richard Callicott said: “Since 2009, the BVF has faced increasing difficulties in continuing to support all of its programmes within the funding allocation made available to it by UK Sport. Accordingly, and following discussion with UK Sport, the BVF Board has determined that it will henceforward expend UK Sport funding only on the Men’s Indoor Volleyball, Women’s Beach Volleyball and Sitting Volleyball programmes. This decision is in recognition especially of UK Sport’s investment principles, which prioritise support for sports on the basis of relative performance merit taking into account current performances and future medal potential. The BVF Board’s decision seeks to ensure that the teams with the greatest potential can continue to develop towards the fulfilment of their performance targets for 2012.

“This decision means that that Women’s Indoor Volleyball and Men’s Beach programmes will no longer be funded directly with monies from UK Sport with effect from 1 October 2010. This does not, however, mean that the BVF is abandoning these teams.”

Mr. Callicott stressed the Federation is working hard to find additional income from sponsorship and commercial sources to enable these players to continue their preparation and to compete in London 2012. For the forthcoming winter season the majority of the players in the Women’s Indoor programme will be taking up playing contracts with European club sides, and the BVF is hopeful that during that time sufficient income will be found to enable them to play competitive matches and continue their training from May 2011 onwards.

“We want to help all those people active in our volleyball programmes to fulfil their dreams and enrich the Olympic experience in London in 23 months’ time,” he concluded.

Audrey Cooper, head coach, GB women’s volleyball, said:
It is obviously difficult to register our shock and disappointment after three years of phenomenal progress. However, will we give up - no. We have a group of determined and resilient athletes and staff, as proved by our recent highly successful profile raising cycle ride from Sheffield to London. We will assess what this means for us and look for a solution. Clearly that solution will involve the development of partnerships with external organisations and commercial companies with similar characteristics and desires. Only two years away from London 2012 we have come too far to let the dream die.”

Liz Nicholl, Chief Operating Officer at UK Sport, added:

“For the London Games, UK Sport has invested record sums in volleyball, with over £4 million supporting the Olympic and Paralympic programmes. The decision made today by the BVF Board maximises the support for those teams with the greatest performance potential. This was no doubt a difficult decision for the Board, but it is one we feel took great courage and that is right from a performance perspective, especially in these economically challenging times.”

Please contact Audrey Cooper for further comment or more information on 0114 223 5744 or 07771 940511 or via email

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