In November, IBB Polonia London are scheduled to play two matches in the CEV Cup. Due to Brexit issues it has become impossible to legally bring the team to England to play a home match, and the CEV were not prepared to grant permission to play the home match on neutral grounds. This causes the 1/32 match in this competition to be a single match between IBB Polonia London and Orion Doetichem. It is likely that the home encounter will be deemed a 0-3 walkover for the Dutch team.
The Club employed a fully professional squad which was a huge step for IBB Polonia London, but this caused a series of demands on the organisation aspects. Since August, the squad has been based in Poland as guests of PGE Skra Belchatow, and has been training each day in preparation for the European campaigns. Following the recent defeat in the Champions League, the Londoners have been transferred to the CEV Cup competition which is due to take place next week.
The situation described above is due to Brexit which caused the delay in processing visas for the players. The process began in October 2020 and due to the lack of progress, caused the home match to be not permitted to be played in England on legal grounds. The Club, based in London, suggested that the game be played on neutral grounds, in Poland; however the European Federation did not give permission for this to take place, basing their decision on the rules. As usual, IBB Polonia looked outside the box for solutions, and proposed a two match event at the home venue of the opposition Orion Doetinchem. Unfortunately due to a lack of hall availability, the Dutch team were not able to offer this solution. Consequently, the Champions of England will play a single match.
The opposition agreed to the idea of a single match, on the basis of fair play. The CEV are still adjudication on this decision, but if they are not prepared to agree to this, then IBB Polonia London home game loss becomes a 0-3 walkover.
The single game between the two clubs takes place on 17th November at 8pm local time. More details will become apparent and will appear on the usual social media locations.
In the meantime, after more than a year’s break in games, IBB Polonia London returned to the rhythm of winning ways and fixtures in domestic competitions. The squad is filled with students from the Pro Volley Academy and supported by senior players eligible to play from previous seasons. These players live and work in England and are free to travel. All games played in England have resulted in victories.
“I am pleased that the CEV supported us until this moment and seemed flexible. We were optimistic that the situation imposed on us and was of no fault of The Club, will be resolved with common sense and we will find a solution that everybody is happy with. Brexit caused us a massive headache and demanded even more resources from us. Currently, despite the huge efforts that we have put in over the last few years we cannot legally bring all of our players to the UK and work in London. This means we cannot play games in the UK in our own country. Our intentions are to play games at home and to promote volleyball in the UK via the media here. The lack of home games causes the inability to play games at home, but also to showcase our sport in front of our own fans on our own television. Playing the event with a walkover against us, is a difficult situation for us, but regardless of any decisions from the CEV, we will continue to promote volleyball and to professionalise the sport in the UK. Our long term aim remains to play showcase events in front of full stands in the UK.” – said Bartek Łuszcz, IBB Polonia London CEO.
Pic. Paweł Piotrowski