Different proposals of new water polo rules have been very hot topics in the last 10-12 months.
Only one of the proposals was adopted in 2017. The International Olympic Committee accepted shorter water polo rosters at the Olympic Games in Tokyo (11 players in the team).
On the other side, the European Aquatics Federation (LEN) has prepared changes for its competitions. The LEN Technical Water Polo Committee (TWPC) has made proposals at its meeting in Barcelona. It is expected that the LEN Bureau will accept these proposals at its convention that will be held next weekend.
The biggest change would be the larger number of players in the teams in the LEN competitions, which is totally opposite to IOC’s changes.
If the LEN Bureau accepts the proposal, every team will register 15 players for the 33rd European Championships in Barcelona (14 – 28 July). The coaches will deliver a list of 13 players two hours before each match. They will be able to change a team for each encounter.
This rule would be adopted for all LEN competitions from next season on.
The qualification system for the new LEN’s competition Europa Cup would be changed.
Like in this year, the Final Eight for men and the Final Six for women will be staged in next seasons. If the LEN Bureau adopts the changes, in the preliminary competition 16 men’s teams will be split into four groups, while 12 women’s squads will be drawn into three groups. The top eight men’s and the six best women’s teams at the 2018 European Championships will directly qualify for the preliminaries. All other teams are going to play the qualifications for the preliminary stage.
Through Europa Cup toward Europan Championships and Super League Final?
By the proposal, in the years ahead of the European Championships (2019 and 2021), the Europa Cup would be a part of the qualification system for ECH. For example, the four best men’s and the three best women’s teams in the Europa Cup, that won’t have qualified for the 2020 European Championships through the 2018 ECH, secure their places at the European Championships. A composition of the men’s tournament would be: the 8 best teams from the previous ECH, 4 from the Europa Cup and 4 from the qualifications, while at the women’s tournament would compete: the 6 best teams in Barcelona, 3 from the Europa cup and 3 from qualifications.
The Technical Water Polo Committees of LEN and FINA have agreed about a new system of the European qualifications for the World League Super Final. If the governing bodies of the two federations reach the final agreement, the four best male and the four best female teams in the Europa Cup will qualify for the Super Final of the World League.