Image: Loic Verstrepen Sande / The Boar
Image: Loic Verstrepen Sande / The Boar

BUCS: 2020-21 season will not feature promotion or relegation

BUCS, the governing body responsible for Higher Education Sport, has announced that 2020-21 will be considered a “bridging season” with no promotion or relegation at the conclusion of play.

In an official statement, BUCS announced: “The decision to focus on Term 2 is a result of feedback from our members, who want to be able to support students in their preparation for returning to competitive team sport.”

With the exception of outdoor cricket – which will remain in Term 3, BUCS leagues will take place between January and April 2021.

As a result of the condensed season, clubs will not be promoted or relegated in 2020-21.

“League standings from 2019-20 will be used to create the 2021-22 league structures for those institutions who maintain affiliation,” a BUCS statement said.

Teams may find themselves pulled up into higher tiers next year

– BUCS Official Statement

“Promotion and relegation are mechanisms to move teams between tiers to provide the most appropriate level of competition each season.

“With a significant reduction in team entries expected, teams may find themselves pulled up into higher tiers next year.

“Utilising the 2019-20 standings as a blueprint for 2021-22 provides the best method to continue the existing programme; which has been shaped by promotion and relegation over many seasons.

“Our decision to not apply promotion and relegation based on the 2020-21 season is due to how different leagues are likely to look, and the condensed nature of the season that could increase the likelihood of relegation for teams.”

It would be unfair to promote or relegate a team on half a season

– Charlotte Lloyd

Warwick SU Sports Officer, Charlotte Lloyd told The Boar: 

“I think it is fair for the 2020/21 season to have no promotion or relegation, since leagues are sure to look very different (for example, they might try to make them more regional because travel is going to be a big issue).

“Also, the current plan is to only play home OR away, rather than both – so it would be unfair to promote or relegate a team on half a season!

“I think teams will still approach the season seriously – I would love to get back playing sport, and I’m sure others are the same, so won’t waste the opportunity.

“At the moment, Warwick plan to fully affiliate to BUCS. Clubs have the opportunity to tell us if they don’t want to enter a team, but we haven’t heard anything yet!”

BUCS has announced plans to confirm the 2020/21 calendar by Friday 28 August

The decision to categorise 2020-21 as a “bridging season” has received criticism on social media, as frustration grows that clubs’ performances in the next academic year will not count towards promotion or relegation.

BUCS has announced plans to confirm the 2020-21 season calendar by Friday 28 August.

BUCS remains involved in discussions with the Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) and the European Sports Association (EUSA) as international governing bodies continue to react to the impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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