Dear UWR Player,
at its last annual meeting, held November 2011 in Berlin, the CMAS Underwater Rugby Commission decided to write an open letter explaining to you what we do.
Historically, the Commission has foremost been a technical body that – whether you call it rugby subacuático, unterwasserrugby or Sualtı ragbisi – has provided a unified set of rules for all countries. Without agreement over these, major championships would be impossible.
However, we now want to go beyond that scope of duty. Our ambition is help lead the community forward so that more people can discover and enjoy the world’s only 3D team ball sport. We will not be able to do it alone.
The current organization and its finances
The Commission is currently composed of 5 Members, 4 full and one associate. Elections to the Commission take place once every 4 years; the next scheduled for 2013. In the interim associate members may be invited to join the Commission.
No one on the Commission receives any financial compensation. We have no physical office, no support staff and no budget. The members’ travelling expenses are sometimes covered by their respective sport diving federation.
Pragmatism and principle
The rules and guidelines for our sport are changing. We must plan for growth, for example. As the number of participants in major competitions increases we must ready to absorb them. Countries that travel from far away for international competition do not want to play three matches and if eliminated from the draw, have nothing to do for the rest of the week. What are the alternative solutions? An extended championship format will allow for additional matches.
More matches also increases costs. How many referees will be needed? How many matches can a referee handle in a single day and maintain mental sharpness? We have to create a structure that can maintain quality while meeting new challenges.
Norms and fair play
Underwater rugby is most beautiful when the flow of play is fast. With each new generation of players there is a need to establish understanding of the game. What constitutes possession of the ball? Can two players jointly posses the ball? Can a player take a grip on a jersey or is that an attack on equipment? We need to provide a forum so that players, coaches and referees can discuss and understand the rules, rather than finding out in match play.
Our sport must also be clean. After the World Championships in Helsinki we realized that we did not have a clear routine for disciplining a player penalized for gross unsportsmanlike conduct. If a player is expelled from a tournament, who should follow up and how? At the last meeting we established a procedure for notifying the national federation of the player’s home country.
Please feel free to read the full minutes of the last Commission meeting(http://cmas.org/
documents_area.php?commission= rugby -> Commission's meeting -> Minutes). Get back to us with your questions.
Promotion and the future
By now you should be wondering how our sport can grow and prosper if the Commission, lacking employees and financial resources, tries to do more than it already does. CMAS, which began as an umbrella organization for diving federations, does not have any permanent staff or board member with a background in underwater rugby. In practice, this means that technical issues (rule changes and procedural matters) are resolved by the Commission. We draft and propose rules, which then are approved by CMAS as the official ones.
However, this freedom also means that there is no planning for the development of underwater rugby from CMAS’s side. This is not a desirable situation. In response we are building a network to promote underwater rugby around the world. Davrell Tien has accepted the post of PR Manager. He is responsible for putting together a plan based on recommendations from all relevant parties. If you have ideas and energy, contact him.
By the next meeting of the Commission in a year’s time we should have a much clearer vision of how are going to become a true world sport.
Looking forward to your feedback.
Best wishes in the New Year,
Søren Neubert (President)
Michele Corleto (Member)
Rüdiger Hüls (Member)
Manuel Tito de Morais (Member and Chief Referee)
Davrell Tien (Associate Member and PR Manager)