It’s right after EUC2019. The first entry I wanted to post was supposed to be mostly about my view at the championships. However, there were a lot of controversial discussions during the event and on social media that can’t be ignored.
Was it as bad as people wrote on Ultimate Players in Europe? Or was it just a snowball effect? What went wrong during the EUC and what the future organisers should work on? These are some of the things that I’m still wondering about. There are many points of views and even more questions.
That’s why my curiosity led me to this interview with Zoltán Erdősi. Perhaps you’ll find some of the answers to those burning questions about EUC2019?
Name: Zoltán Erdősi
Number: (9, but i’m not playing anymore)
Plays Ultimate Since: 1993
Team: Clubs: Kidsteam (‘93-99), Hallodigaz-e? (2003-2018), National team: 2004 WUGC, Finland, 2004 WBUC, Portugal, 2011 EUC, Slovenia
Cutter/Handler: handler in 90’s, cutter in 2K, handler in 10’s
Favourite throw: catched throws 🙂
Favourite type of the tournament: competitive
Favourite division: Mixed
Favourite thing outside of Ultimate: family
1. How did you first get into Ultimate Frisbee?
I was 12 years old, in 5th class elementary school.
2. What does this sport mean to you?
The highest level of Tactical (invasion) team sports and potentially an Olympic sport.
3. EUC2019 gathered 54 teams from 3 divisions. What does it take to prepare such an event?
It required the highest focus on the fields quality and the health/ambulance team. And strategic thinking on priorities vs secondary requests.
What can you say about the planning, logistics, managing and cooperation with the city and the sponsors?
Planning was this time a special issue: we knew what we wanted to give to the European Ultimate Community, and we knew that a lot of members of this community don’t really want what we give them.
Our organising bid was focusing from the first minute on competitive circumstances, even it generated conflicts with those players who are thinking about EUC as a festival/holiday event.
Example: hundreds of players from EUC have never ever played on 8 soccer fields with UEFA licens in one venue. These people can not understand, why mobile toilets, tents, and shades are not allowed in a 5stars Venue (there are 28km water cable under the fields in 15cm for the winter season – if we make a hole in it, it cost 50.000€!). Even if there were 8days of rain, none of the games would’ve been cancelled!
Partners, City, and Sponsors were professional. We loved working with them.
4. What were the biggest challenges at EUC2019 and what was the course of action while responding to arising issues?
EUF used Ultimatecentral for registration. After the reg. deadline the UC was reopened several times when all the 1310 participants were able to change their mind even in transfer, food, picture etc. Practically we had to restart the logistic on 22nd June.
I can not see the future, but we won’t use UC anymore for player registration in Hungary:)
I was surprised of level some European National Federations. There were only 3! countries which delegated 1 responsible person for communications and registrations. All the other 20 countries let their players to do the communication and do requests personally. Even EUF made these 1300 people do their own communication!
(eg. there was a country, which had players, who registered on UC for a different Accommodation type as their Nat. Federation paid for. And the players weren’t informed properly by their own National Federations, so the situations got funny and sad at the same time!)
EUF board did a great job before and during the event.
How do you respond to the comments of the players, who were present at EUC?
In a professional sport, which is waiting for the Olympics, there should be 1teamadmin/division/nation, who is responsible for all the request. We tried to solve and handle all these requests latest on the first 2 days of the tournament (eg. we have never communicated to the EUF or UC that we are able to guarantee glukozfree food in all accommodations, however on UC all players have had the possibility for clicking on it.)
I have the report to EUF and to the Secretary of State of Sport in Hungary. We didn’t get any negative feedback from them (yet).
Comment of players/volunteers?
- I understand Those players who pay hundreds of € from their own packet, and they are thinking about EUC as a holiday. But EUC shall be organized by Nat.Federations not personal. E.g. the HFDF pays everything for the selected players. But the players have to understand that they represent their nation, and aren’t on a Holiday.
- I was at the venue personally for 10 days long. None, none of the commenters came to me to ask to solve their problems! (eg. one of the Scorekeepers made a video about the tournament, which includes a lot of fake, and stupid things. We are very proud that we were able to provide 289 games in one venue without any disgusting mobile toilets. And this scorekeeper said that about 5mins way to the toilets is a negative thing. :o)
- This was an 8days long European Championship for 65€ player fee!
Personally, I’m happy with FB comments: I’m 38, I’m a scorpion. I teach since 15years, so I know the young generations. 10years ago people damaged buildings with graffiti if they had problems, and I was so sad. Now I’m really happy to see the Generation XYZ use FB as a virtual graffiti wall. It’s much more healthy and Green 🙂
Is there anything you’d change given the chance?
Yes, I wouldn’t let EUF reopen the UC registrations for players after the deadline. Or I wouldn’t use UC at all.
And personally, I was surprised by how different the attitude to food in different parts of Europe is. I would take care on a really high level of this topic. We honestly sorry, if anyone felt that ToC are not caring for their food requests!
On the first day we changed the Shuttle, but this change wasn’t communicated well by ToC, we are really sorry about that as well.
5. It’s hard to ignore the fact that Team Hungary was less experienced than other European representatives.
What’s the reason for the absence of the players from the best Hungarian teams in the national roster? Why weren’t they present at such an important event?
In HFDF we have a long term strategy from 2016 to 2028. Our goal is to reach the European Mixed division’s highest level, if/when Ultimate goes to the Olympics. We started a schoolprogram, we invlolved PE teachers in our coaching trainings. We created new/strict roster rules. And we pay all the budget of the National team. For EUC2019 we planned a Young team, which will be on top in 2024-2028. There were 3 players invited from Freebees (Debrecen) and 8 players from LOL. But only the Young ones! Finally, all these 11 players decided not to come. Their decision.
(In 2011 HUN mixed was 9/15, in 2015 HUN mixed was 14/18. Now HUN was 15/19 – but this time we have an 18,5-year avg. team with a bright future full of lot works.)
What’s your response to LOL’s statement and what’s your perspective in this whole situation?
Hungary is a small country, but a very successful Sportnation. (Number of Olympic medals/nation citizens are in the top of the World) It’s caused by the Scientic background and Hungarian Sports law.
HFDF’s highest priority is to build up a very strong National Championship, due to the using of Hun Sports Law 2004.
The basics of our competitive strategy 2016-2028 is the new rostering rules, and new tournament organising rule (if a HFDF member organise a tournament, They need to pay to the Federation after all abroad teams). The majority of HFDF members voted for these rules. Team LOL left the Federation after this voting. That was their decision, and as outsiders, they are not able to play on any WFDF or EUF event.
Probably LOL and other big clubs are sensitive on new rules, but in long term a Federation can work well only by clear, written rules. Anyone can join the HFDF if/when they follow the rules.
The Hungarian Flying Disc Federation started a new way, we focusing on Competitive/Olyimpic Ultimate sport. And finally whole Europe knows this fact. So we are thinking thankfully for LOL’s statement 🙂
The questions don’t cover the whole spectrum of the pros and cons of EUC2019. I hope it sheds some light on a perspective we mostly didn’t hear before. Perhaps now some of you have more questions?
There’s no perfect recipe for organising events. I believe it could be a nice case study in the Ultimate Frisbee Community to improve future events. Perhaps all of us could work on communication. 😏
What’s your Ultimate Frisbee story? Would you like to share it? Feel free to message me on Introverted Ultimate or via email. I’ll get back to you with 5 Questions. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!