EC: new teams format

A staggering 24 teams have entered the 2017 European Racketlon Team Championships, representing 13 different nations.  To cope with such an unprecedented level of entry a revolutionary new tournament format has been developed.  We hope that this guide will take you through this new format and answer all your questions, allowing everyone to settle back and enjoy a thrilling Racketlon team championships.

 

Let’s Meet the Teams

The 24 teams have been split over three divisions, with the new added twist that teams can be promoted/relegated between the divisions (more on that later).  The top division is the Championship, which will see the best 8 teams in Europe compete for the crown of European Team Champion, a title currently held by Denmark after their victory in Prague.  In Vienna these 8 teams are: Austria 1, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany 1, Great Britain 1, Sweden 1 and Switzerland 1. 

Division 1 is the second tier, in previous events this has been represented by the Amateur event, with Sweden 2 the defending champions from Prague, however in this new format there are a host of new teams and new prizes on offer. The teams in Division 1 are: Austria 2, Belgium, France, Germany 2, Great Britain 2, Great Britain 3, Switzerland 2 and Sweden 2. 

Division 2 is the third and final tier to our new league structure, and will serve as the entry point for new nations to Team Racketlon in both this and future competitions.  In Division 2 there are our final 8 teams: Austria 3, Austria 4, Germany 3. Great Britain 4, Hungary, Slovenia, Switzerland 3 and Turkey. 

Match Format

Each of our 3 divisions will be split into 2 groups (A and B) of 4 teams.  Each team will play the other teams in their group once in the standard 5 player team format (2 x men’s singles, 1 x women’s singles, 1 x doubles) with 11 up scoring.  Once these matches have been played we will have the group standings for both groups in the three divisions. 

It is now that it might get a little bit complicated!  In each division, the winner of Group A will play the runner up in Group B (A1 vs B2, and vice versa, B1 vs A2).  These are called the promotion play offs.  This is replicated at the bottom of the groups, so third in Group A plays fourth in Group B (A3 vs B4 and B3 vs A4), called the relegation play offs.  After these play off matches, there is a final round of matches.  The winners of the divisional promotion playoffs will play the losers of the relegation play offs in the division above.  The victors of these promotion/relegation matches will play in the higher division in the 2019 European Team Championships with the losers playing in the lower division.  In our example below, the teams in bold have won, so the

 

Division 1 Relegation Play Offs                                                 Division 2 Promotion Play Offs

Austria 2 vs Great Britain 3                                                         Slovenia vs Turkey

Germany 2 vs Belgium                                                                 Hungary vs Switzerland

 

Promotion/Relegation Play Off

Austria 2 vs Turkey

Belgium vs Hungary


In our example, with bold teams winning, Austria 2 stay in Division 1, but Belgium are relegated to Division 2 and Hungary promoted in their place. 

For the top two teams in the Championship group, they play the Championship play offs, in the same format (A1 vs B2 etc), with the two winners of the Championship play offs playing the final to determine our European Team Champion and the two losers of the play off playing for the Bronze medal.  Similarly, the teams in the third and fourth places in Division 2 will play out for 5th to 8th place as there is no relegation from the bottom Division. 

Caveats

There are some caveats to the new structure. 

1) A second team is not allowed in the Championship division.  Should a second team (i.e. Germany 2) win the Division 1 Promotion play off, then the 7th placed team will not be relegated in the Championship will not be relegated.  An additional match will be played to determine who is the 7th place team in the Championship. 

2) No more than two teams from one nation in Division 1.  For example if Great Britain 4 win a Division 2 Promotion play off, then they cannot be promoted and the 7th placed team in Division 1 will not be relegated.  Similarly, if Great Britain 1 are relegated from the Championship, then Great Britain 3 will be demoted to Division 2 for the next tournament, regardless of their finishing position in Division 1. 

Conclusions

This new format is exciting, but we are aware, potentially a little confusing.  What we can assure everyone is that the new format is designed to help develop our team championships to include as many nations as possible.  All teams will enjoy 5 matches with no match representing a “Dead Rubber”, there will be something to play for in every single match!


James Pope
UK Racketlon