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Volleyball Ireland is delighted to announce information on an exciting new pilot programme – The Development League.

The Development League (pilot) will form a key stage in the participation pathway acting as a ‘stepping stone’ for recreational teams or players progressing from Volleyball Ireland’s Youth League to transition into the full National League. The Development League follows the principles of the adult National League, albeit with some relaxed rules and standards. In the Development League, the main focus is on participation and player development.
In year one, the pilot Development League will be open for women’s teams with clubs applying for entry, through the club affiliation and registration form process.

Volleyball Ireland are particularly interested in seeing applications from clubs that may have previously participated in Recreational competitions and have ambitions to play in the National League, as well as clubs that have previously entered teams in the u18 Youth National League. The Development League presents a great opportunity to continue participation.
The Development League also provides opportunities for newly qualified referees to hone their skills in a more relaxed environment.

Whilst full competition rules will be established for this competition, there will be some key differences from the full National League. The aim of which is to remove potential barriers to participation allowing new teams time to upgrade facilities and build capacity in their clubs, before they transition into the National League. 
These relaxed rules include, but aren’t limited to: more flexibility in regards to fixture planning, only matching jerseys are required, there will be no promotion nor relegation, facility standards are relaxed with reduced run off areas and lower minimum roof height requirements.

Whilst a league winner will be crowned, the spirit of the Development League is to grow participation in a relaxed manner, providing opportunities for young players or beginners to improve their skills. 
Dependant on the number of entry applications, the Development League may be regionalised. As this is a pilot scheme, there will be no team entry fees in year one. Normal club affiliation fees will apply.

Interested clubs should contact Conor Flood with any enquiries. Club affiliation for the 2020/21 season is available here >