Beach volleyball: London in frame to host international event

Zara Dampney
Zara Dampney competed for Team GB at London 2012 and hopes the sport can return to the city in the future

Beach volleyball could return to London this summer after the capital was named as a host for one of the women's International Tour competitions.

However Volleyball England insist they still need significant commercial backing to make the event a reality.

The sport was set in Horse Guards Parade for the Olympics but would most likely be held at the Score Centre in Waltham Forest, 14-18 August, in 2013.

"We want to capitalise on London 2012," said GB Volleyball's Richard Callicott.

"However, just because it's in the calendar doesn't mean it will definitely happen," said the sport's president. "We need to find the funding because England has no spare money."

Beach volleyball was one of the most sought-after tickets at last year's Games, but estimates suggest holding another competition at the iconic Horse Guards Parade would cost more than £1m - funding the sport simply does not have.

British Volleyball learned in December that UK Sport would be axing financial support for their indoor, sitting and men's beach programmes for the four-year Olympic and Paralympic cycle leading to the Rio 2016 Games.

Along with wrestling and table tennis the sport failed to overturn that ruling in February and as such will receive only a modest £514,000 for the women's beach volleyball team over the next three and a half years.

Volleyball England have a larger budget, but their funding is directly targeted at grassroots development programmes, which is why outside investment is vital.

With fresh sand costing around £40,000 and other costs for temporary stands, security and athlete accommodation, organisers estimate hosting the competition in the north east of the city would require a more manageable £500,000.

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"We've had a Dutch company offering 100,000 euros (£84,500) and FIVB [volleyball's international governing body] will pick up some costs, but that leaves a lot of money which is where the commercial side comes in," continued former UK Sport chief executive Callicott.

"We're looking at 1,000 seats, which is considerably less than in London [2012], but over a four-day period that is potentially a lot of tickets that can be sold."

Volleyball England hope to conclude a deal by next week, but have set themselves a deadline of the end of May to find a backer.

They remain adamant, however, that even if funding is not found this year, beach volleyball could still return to central London in 2014 and potentially Horse Guards Parade.

"All the investment in time would not be lost because it will give us a base," Callicott told BBC Sport.

"We want to keep London on the world circuit because it would be crazy to lose the momentum from London 2012."

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