2023 Competition Consultation 

February 2023  

The End of Season 2022 group picture, with players, referees, coaches, and staff coming together making up 4 rows with an array of shirt colours like red, yellow, orange, and blue!


As the number of competitive players has grown the competition structure is coming under significant pressure at the regional (previously named Novice) level. At that last regional tournament (January 2023) 22 teams entered with a number of clubs outlining they can potentially enter more teams at future events.  

At regional level the standard has also increased, and this is great for the sport. However, it has been recognised by Goalball UK and multiple clubs that there is scope for the introduction and facilitation of another pre regional level to engage those not ready or capable yet of playing at regional level competitions.  

Over the last three seasons the player rating system has bedded in, but we now have a significant number of players rated 2 or 4 that are getting ‘double court time’ by playing leading roles (starting three or four players) in teams at two levels. This has benefits for those players and their clubs, but it can be perceived to be unfair on those players rated 1,3, or 5.  

It is acknowledged that players need time to develop and having the opportunity to play at two levels for a period of time is vital for players development. We also know that not everyone will end up being rated a 5 and playing in or wanting to play in the Super League due to the nature of the competition.   

With rising costs for clubs, players, and Goalball UK (venue, transport, and accommodation) the number of competition days Goalball UK can deliver across a season with current staffing remains static.  

The number of activators and qualified referees is steadily increasing post Covid-19 and we continue to work in this area to ease workforce pressure within the structure. Our ambition for 2024/25 season is to host Intermediate South & North competitions on the same day to ease scheduling, resulting in 4 halls being run at the same time. 

Proposed Ideas for Feedback 

Time spent at rating 2 and 4 and seasonal choice.  

This potential solution aims to create space in the structure by reducing the number of players rated 2 and 4 who are consistently accessing double court time, while also continuing to support player development.  

We are asking clubs, players, coaches, and committee members etc. to feedback on how these changes may impact their current circumstances heading into the 2023/24 season and their thoughts on how this will impact the competition structure overall.     

Important Definitions  

  • Playing Level = Regional, Intermediate or Super League.  
  • Player Rating = the number a player is rated 1 to 5. 
Current Players 

Any current player who has been at a rating of 2 or 4 for two seasons or more will be required to pick their playing level for the 2023/24 season. Clubs and/or The Competition Committee (The CC) will also look to move a number of players to a 3 or 5 based on their on their current competitive performances and court time at relevant playing levels.

If a player remains a 2 or a 4 at the end of the 2023/24 season, they can then re-evaluate the playing level they would like to play at in the 2024/25 season. 

At any time, players would still be subject to having their player rating adjusted by their club or The CC based on their current playing ability.  

New Players 

Players rated 2 or 4 would have a fixed amount of time (up to two seasons per step up) of being able to participate in two playing levels.  

Following the 2 seasons a player would have to choose their playing level for the following season, this would then be fixed for the season.  

The playing level the player would like to play at can then be re-evaluated at the end of the season and before the start of the next season, assuming their rating is still a 2 or 4 based on their playing ability. In this circumstance any changes to a player’s playing level would take place in the off-season.  

At any time, players would still be subject to having their player rating adjusted by their club or The CC based on their current playing ability.  


There would also be a process of exemptions for players involved in talent and or high-performance squads, these would be applied for through and in agreement with the Goalball UK High-Performance Lead. This is to allow those players identified by Goalball UK to maximise their development.  

Pre-Regional Level Events 

With the number of competition days Goalball UK can resource with core staff at its limit, clubs that can, are encouraged to organise their own events.  

Goalball UK through non-competition structure funding can help clubs develop their capacity to deliver their own events, with pre-regional level competitions or friendlies being one priority.  

We have developed a Grant Scheme to support clubs and Cambridge Dons are running a pilot event of this kind in March 2023.  

Goalball UK Event Grant scheme webpage.

If you’re club is interested running an event, please get in touch with Alex Bunney (Participation Lead)   

Email: Alex.Bunney@goalballuk.com Phone: 07716 666771 

How to Feedback 

The feedback is open to all clubs, players, coaches, and committee members etc.  

Please respond by 15th March 2023 via one of the following options: