Covid lockdown leads to worries over volleyball's future in Yorkshire

Players are likely to be lost and teams could fold because of the coronavirus pandemic, the chairman of Yorkshire Volleyball fears.

By Peter Smith
Tuesday, 9th February 2021, 6:00 am
Volleyball is growing in popularity, but has been hit by coronavirus lockdowns. Picture by David Harrison Photography.
Volleyball is growing in popularity, but has been hit by coronavirus lockdowns. Picture by David Harrison Photography.

The sport is played throughout the county, including clubs at Leeds, Wakefield and Harrogate.

Leeds Ruth Gorse Academy’s men’s side were top of Division One and the women’s team second in their competition when the National Volleyball League season was cut short due to the pandemic.

That secured the men’s place in Super League, but the three national lockdowns have made it almost impossible for clubs to train and the sport’s Yorkshire chairman, Tim Godson, admits he is “worried about the state of volleyball in the current climate”.

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Godson said: “I thought we were making good strides, a lot of clubs were developing juniors.

“We have had a steady stream of people arriving from Europe to play for our clubs and I think that is going to finish [due to Brexit] so we have got to start developing juniors and bringing people into the game, but some of them have hardly played in a year now.”

He added: “A lot of the clubs have had very little access to their usual venues.

“A lot of clubs use schools and the way things were, the lowest priority they had was allowing external people into their venues.

“Certainly in Yorkshire, nobody owns a venue.

“All the big tournaments were cancelled [and] I just wonder, with it having been so long, if we will lose people from the sport when it all starts up again.”

Clubs were able to train outdoors when restrictions were lifted over the summer, but Godson warned: “Indoor competitive sports of this nature seem to have particularly struggled.”

He said: “There was an allowance for under-18s to continue before the latest lockdown and then there was an allowance for elite sport, but volleyball does not count as an elite sport.

“We are down the pecking order and we’ve had to stop when some other sports have been able to carry on.

“I just hope things go back to normal and some of the players we’ve been attracting will continue.”

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