Beach volleyball will not return to London this summer after Volleyball England failed to attain enough commercial backing for the project. In April the sport’s international governing body, FIVB, listed the capital as a host for a women’s world tour event from 14-18 August 2013.
However, the organisers fell around £350,000 short of the half a million pounds worth of funding they needed. The great difficulty with Horse Guards Parade is that although the venue is wonderful the cost of putting on is so high.
“I’m really disappointed,” GB London Olympian Zara Dampney told BBC Sport. “I was excited that the UK would have been able to see international beach volleyball again and it would have been another chance to compete at home.”
Volleyball England president Richard Callicott added his dismay at the situation, which comes six months on from UK Sport’s decision to axe all financial support for their indoor, sitting and men’s beach volleyball programmes leading into the 2016 Rio Games. “We’ve lost the opportunity to capitalise on London 2012,” said Callicott, who was hoping the event would be staged at the Score Centre in Waltham Forest, London, as a cheaper alternative to the Olympic venue of Horse Guards Parade.
“We did the business planning but it wasn’t eligible for any grants from anywhere and there was too big a funding gap between expenditure and income.” UK Sport are committed to investing around £27m of National Lottery funds on their ‘Gold Event Series’ which aims to bring 70 major tournaments to Great Britain between 2013 and 2019. But as the potential beach volleyball competition in London did not carry World Series status, it did not qualify for support.
Volleyball England is convinced that an event could still take place in UK’s capital in 2014 though, and maintain its long-term ambition of hosting a World Championships “within the next five years” can still become a reality. “Work has already started on 2014 and the FIVB are very supportive because they recognise how hard we’ve worked to make it happen,” said Callicott.
“The great difficulty with Horse Guards Parade is that although the venue would be wonderful and would love to take it there, the cost of putting it in [estimated at over one million pounds] is exceedingly high. “We do have more than one major promoter interested [in a 2014 event] and I know from the crowds at London 2012 that there’s public interest. “We just need the commercial world to come on board and help us make this an event and sport of the future.”
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