The British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) has decided to change the Open Canoe Polo league to a Men’s only league.
The change was made on the grounds it was the only ‘viable option’ to allow the sport to ‘expand’ and ‘align with international bodies’.
The Canoe Polo section of the BUCS website published an update in October 2015 announcing the replacement of the open league with a men’s league.
There currently stands an open league and a female league.
Issues have arisen since Canoe Polo clubs received no prior communication regarding this change.
In an open letter the University of London Canoe Polo club argued: “Had BUCS chosen to communicate with any aspect of the British canoe polo community, they would have learned that we are incredibly proud of the inclusivity and diversity that is present within the Open leagues throughout the country; whereby women are encouraged to compete at the highest possible level based on their ability alone.’
The London club go onto state that this decision is contradictory to the principles and campaigns from Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign and the BUCS’s own Take A Stand campaign.
The London Universities’ SU supported the Canoe Polo club and their right to publicly express grievance.
Whilst the BUCS complained about being unfairly represented, many clubs countered this with the argument as there had been no rationale for the decision published in public.
On behalf of the Warwick club, second-year physics student Emma Beaney said: “Warwick Canoe Polo club are devastated with the change.
“Two of our ladies are integral members of our A team and now will not be able to play at the highest standard of Canoe Polo.
“We are currently petitioning against the change along with the majority of BUCS teams.
“We hope that, if not this year then next, the format will be changed back to enable everyone to be able to play together.”