England volleyball future uncertain, says Magda Ropiak
England volleyball player Magda Ropiak's international future is on hold because she cannot afford the fee for a British passport.
Poland-born Ropiak, whose residency qualifies her to apply for British citizenship, had previously represented England but is now deemed ineligble.
"I'm eligible [for a passport] as I've been here for more than five years.
"Unfortunately it's very expensive, it's about £900 which I can't afford," Ropiak told BBC Look North.
"I want to look for sponsors because it's a great opportunity for me.
"I know I can be in the squad, I know I can represent England and the one thing that is stopping me is my nationality."
Ropiak combines her Team Northumbria commitments with studies for a degree in Biomedical Science and it was her student volleyball performances at college and university that brought her to the attention of the England selectors.
Federation of International Volleyball rule 5.2
“Only players holding the citizenship of the country they represent may be registered to participate in FIVB and World competitions, except for the FIVB Club World Championship”
She captained the England squad to success at the Novotel Cup in Luxembourg earlier this year but is now no longer under consideration.
"The bosses decided that because I wasn't from England the whole team were not allowed a cup, so I was letting the team down," she said.
This summer's London Olympics brought increased exposure for the sport, including a 850% increase in page visits to the Volleyball England website.
However, Ropiak is still undecided about her own future as she also has the possibility of representing her native Poland.
"I want to be a professional volleyball player, I'm looking to get a contract abroad - that's what I'm thinking about," Ropiak continued.
"It would be great for me to go to Brazil and the next Olympics, but I know it's going to be a long journey, I need to work very hard.
"Poland probably has a higher standard [of volleyball] and a bigger chance to get into the Olympics, whereas Great Britain is still progressing in volleyball.
"We will see where we are in four years time," she added.