Changes to EUF Qualification Process Announced

The bid numbers for EUCF 2023 have been confirmed

The European Ultimate Federation this week announced the bid distribution for EUCF 2023. The changes caused both by the new qualification process and the number of interested teams means several regions have lost bids, with some of the regionals in August set to be extremely competitive.

The new bid allocation details not only how qualification will occur through the usual regional process, but how the new wildcard structure will affect the showpiece tournament. The Spring Invite series, a new addition to the European calendar this season, saw bids available to winners in each of the six tournaments.1 Both finalists in each division at the Elite Invite2 will also qualify directly for EUCF 2023 in Wroclaw, Poland.

What Does This Mean in Practice?

The new regional numbers indicate several regions will be merged. The Central and North will be merged in mixed, in women’s the Central and South divisions will be merged, and the North and East regions will be merged in both women’s and open. It means that the North region, featuring teams from the Nordic and Baltic areas, will essentially not exist this season.

This affects bid numbers significantly. The combined regions will all lose out in real terms this year3:

Central 2022Mixed3
North 2022Mixed3
Central & North 2023Mixed3 (-3)
Central 2022Women’s3
South 2022Women’s4
Central & South 2023Women’s4 (-3)
North 2022Women’s3
East 2022Women’s3
North & East 2023Women’s4 (-2)
North 2022Open4
East 2022Open4
North & East 2023Open5 (-3)

The new numbers mean that all of the planned tournaments will see the same number of bids, with the exception being the South region mixed division, where one has been moved to the new Southeast division. The South will be first on the waiting list should the Southeast tournament not prove to be possible.

Felix Nemec, EUF’s Event Manager, said: “The results when using the bid calculations that were used for the last full regional season in 2019 did not satisfy the competition committee. The committee reviewed the various regions and came to the conclusion that the bids given through Spring and Elite Invite should not affect the numbers of bids per region.

“It was by chance that the end result was equal bids for all regions but it was a satisfying result.”

The Effect of the New Wildcards

However, some of these losses have already been offset. BFD Shout4 won one of the Spring Invite series and has secured qualification to defend the title already, adding another bid to the Central & South women’s region. Both winners in mixed were from the Central region: FRuBB and Disconnection, both German teams, will both be in Wroclaw meaning only one bid has been lost. Czechs 3SB were winners in the open series event in Padova, Italy, so have reclaimed another open bid for the East region.

Two regions that hadn’t lost out received additional bids. Dublin Gravity won the event in London and have ensured that at least five women’s teams from the West will qualify for EUCF, while the biggest upset came in Leuven where home team JetSet defeated former European runners-up Bad Skid of Germany. It means the Central region will have six bids, although JetSet is likely to lose several of its most influential players as the season continues: talisman Daan De Marree is the captain of Belgium’s under-24 team and has been a central player for Mooncatchers for several years. JetSet will be in Wroclaw but may struggle to continue this momentum once the event starts.

What’s Next?

With more spots available at Elite Invite in Switzerland at the end of the month, we have yet to see the full effects of the changes that the new EUF structure has had on EUCF. Eight of the top nine open teams from EUCF 2022 will be playing in Bern5, as will seven of the top eight mixed teams6 and eight of the top nine women’s teams7.

It means six of the best teams in Europe won’t have to worry about EUCF qualification later in the year so can skip out a tournament if they wish. With such a packed calendar this season – the European Ultimate Championships are in July as are the World Under-24 Championships, not to mention the usual slate of elite European tournaments – it could be quite a prize. It also means that, without those teams, some regions could be wide open. The Central mixed division in particular stands out, with two teams already qualified and Dutch reigning European champions Grut strong favorites to do so at Elite Invite.

So all eyes now turn to Bern. A better look at that will come once the dust has settled from Tom’s Tourney this coming weekend.

  1. A women’s tournament in London, UK, a mixed tournament in Wroclaw, Poland, an open tournament in Leuven, Belgium, and an event in Padova, Italy, with all three divisions. 

  2. Last year was the first edition of the EUF-run event, which was previously called the Bologna Invite and was unaffiliated to the federation. 

  3. The 2022 numbers are from the initial bid list, which did change during the season as some regions were under-subscribed and unable to hold tournaments. 

  4. CUSB, the main club in Bologna that has been one of the pre-eminent forces in European ultimate for several years, has been rebranded to BFD after a longstanding relationship with the city’s university came to an end. 

  5. Copenhagen’s KFK will not be present, replaced by ninth-placed 3SB

  6. French team Sesquidistus will replace Czech bronze medallists Left Overs

  7. Sweden’s SUFC Valkyria are replaced by ninth-placed FAB of Bern. 

  1. Sean Colfer
    Sean Colfer

    Sean Colfer is based in London. He’s played for teams across the UK since 2006 and has been writing about and commentating on ultimate since 2010. Follow him on Twitter @seancolfer, or follow @ShowGameUlti on Instagram for more on UK and Irish ultimate.


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