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Competition calendar for international teams in 2023 set to be discussed

Water polo’s Home Countries Leadership Group is to meet next month to discuss a competition calendar for international teams in 2023.

The group is made up of key volunteers and officers from each of the home nations and is chaired by Swim Wales chief executive and British Swimming Board member Fergus Feeney.

The WPHCLG is committed to the progression of players from grassroots right through to representing the home nations and Great Britain at international competitions.

The group is also responsible for delivering and supporting competitions and ensuring teams are prepared for entry into senior European events.

It will also look at plans to potentially host a tournament featuring Commonwealth countries after the event which had been planned for November was postponed.

George Wood, Swim England Sport Development Director and group member said: “It was with disappointment that the tournament featuring potential Commonwealth nations was not able to happen in 2022. 

“Such an event requires a host partner and there were very positive conversations with a supportive potential partner but, unfortunately, we couldn’t put all of the arrangements together to enable it to happen in the timeframe.”

Positive steps forward

Fergus said: “The Home Countries Leadership Group is meeting in early July to discuss the potential for competitions in 2023, including the rearranged tournament featuring Commonwealth nations – and how this would fit with wider aspirations, in particular European events. 

“The primary objective is to ensure teams are prepared for entry into Senior LEN European Competitions in 2023 so that will guide our thinking as to other competitions. 

“Following the meeting, we will give a further update on the outcomes and next steps.”

Fergus emphasised the fact that there have been a number of positive steps forward for the sport in recent months. 

In partnership with British Swimming staff, the group has accessed £375,000 of UK Sport National Squad Support Funding, while GB London 2012 Olympic Games captain Craig Figes is starting soon as the water polo programme lead for Great Britain and there had been some impressive performances on the international stage. 

These included a British women’s team competing in the Danube League, Wales and England competing at the Women’s EU Nations Water Polo Cup with England ‘Red’ winning the silver medal and Wales achieving seventh place and the men’s team.

England’s Senior men also finished fifth in the EU Nations Water Polo Cup.