It is seldom that one is given an opportunity to do a critique on their primary sport and hobby over fifty years of playing at a reasonable standard.
I speak about Australia because that is what I know. Currently there are major fights over who controls the game and who has the right to do what. Australia used to be an Association of Clubs. We were not connected with government and our administration was primarily by consensus because the clubs were to some extent automatous. With no discussion and certainly no mention of a Plebiscite we now have a corporate style National body with a constitution that mirrors the HPA.
With this corporate administration, decisions were made by persons who have no real connection with the on field running and funding of a 16/17-goal team, which will be the standard of the finalists in the World Cup.
There are confidentiality undertakings by members of the board. A proposal is submitted to them by a club to run the event. They endorse it having no idea what is going to be offered and no idea of the capacity of the club to deliver. Agreements are signed but they are unenforceable.
And here is the “Rub”. If it were delivered by the old association of clubs, we would all be responsible. If the World Cup does not go ahead it is unfortunate for the SPC but that is not us. The NSWPA and APF have endorsed a bid riddled with problems and never trying to seriously address the delivery of horses. In the eyes of the APF and NSWPA along with FIP we are the workers and contributors who spend 30k per team with high risk delivering the feature act. The horses.
The administration sees us as servants of their particular initiatives. I have horses and am a part of Australian Polo although not a member of APF. Why would I send my good horses to be managed by someone else. Even worse, why would I send my untalented horse or green horse just to give my horses a bad reputation and probably break the young one.
If you want to play the 2017 WC and play it in 2017 then this is the only way. Play it as a knock out. Clubs mount the teams and those teams come and play with the club for 7 plus days getting to know the horses and giving the lenders the pleasure of playing with good players. Life is a two way street.
The cheapest thing in polo is moving the player. Play two countries in Queensland, two countries in Scone and four in Richmond. Always keep the good horses playing and it would take 3 weeks. I believe this way the teams would be evenly mounted and as the competition progresses, more evenly mounted. Of course there is an element of luck but that is always the case. Monstrously incorrectly handicapped players are on show and should be altered.
This time just worry about the competition. Forget the gate. Play it on the fine day. The Hoopla is over.
Wallace Ashton, written March 2017
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I've been involved in team sport all my life. I played Rugby with Cootamundra, was a Jackeroo and now I'm a farmer whose polo-playing hobby has seriously taken over.