3/20/20 – WFTDA COVID-19 Open Forum

On March 20, 2020, the WFTDA held an Open Forum on Facebook live to discuss plans for the competitive season and other issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. A recording is available below, and a transcript of the Q&A will be available soon. Read the 3/16/20 – COVID-19 Statement and Update and visit the WFTDA COVID-19 Updates and Recommendations page for more information.



Q: Governments around the world all have different recommendations, and it’s hard to know what to think sometimes. How does my team know whether to train at all, or when we should consider starting again?

A: The WFTDA manages and governs roller derby competition in more than 23 countries, which, as you can imagine, makes it challenging for us to stay on top of. Our recommendations are meant as broad guidelines, but ultimately, each or our member organizations are beholden to your local and national governments. So the best advice we can give you is that if and when your local government is having conversations about lifting social distancing restrictions, that’s a good time for you to reach out to the WFTDA about your options for game play. And in particular, if you have questions about Sanctioning, you can reach out there.

Q: Is canceling the entire competitive season on the table? Are we going to keep Playoffs and Champs?

A: At this point we are unsure what our postseason will look like. WFTDA’s Competitive Play Task Force, staff, and the Board of Directors are working with our COVID Task Force to follow the situation and we are exploring different scenarios so that when we know enough to make a decision, we can implement the appropriate scenario. The scenarios include a lengthened competitive season, some event cancellations and all event cancellations. Our goal is to keep our participants from feeling they need to play when it’s not safe to do so, to recognize the economic impact on our member leagues who would need to travel to our events, to recognize the training time necessary to play at this level and the already existing inequalities in training spaces (Europe generally closes venues in July and August), and the ability of WFTDA to run these events. At this point we are unsure what our postseason will look like. WFTDA’s Competitive Play Task Force, staff, and the Board of Directors are working with our COVID task force to follow the situation and we are exploring different scenarios so that when we know enough to make a decision, we can implement the appropriate scenario.

Q: Does the rankings freeze indicate these are the rankings for post season now?

A: No – the rankings freeze provides a mechanism to keep games alive for everyone as we cannot play games for an undetermined amount of time. We would otherwise have seen them drop off the Calculator altogether. The Competitive Play Task Force is working to get rankings.wftda.com set up so that the new system with the frozen rankings is visible to everyone. Next, they will look at how we need to adjust our decay feature, which currently is set to reduce the weight of older games and to give higher value to newer games, to both appropriately weight these older games as well as any new games played by leagues in regions that open up from the pandemic sooner than other regions who can’t play. And finally, once we know more about how long the virus will require us to social distance, we will make decisions about the postseason and how final rankings will be decided.

Q: What will be the rankings implications for ranked teams who are unable to play any sanctioned games this season due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and/or illnesses?

A: The Competitive Play task force first froze rankings as of March 1, 2020 so that these teams will be able to retain a ranking. They are looking at the decay feature to appropriately weight these old games and to also balance any new games played by teams who are able to play this season. We don’t yet know what this looks like but our goal is to protect rankings as best we can for everyone and to try and even out the playing field so that at the very least people have the ability to start from a reasonable point when they can start playing again. We implemented the rankings freeze to keep games intact from last year so that everyone has a starting point before the virus started impacting regions of the world. Second, we are looking at how to set up our decay feature to create some kind of appropriate ranking system as this situation is likely to add further imbalance to our already imbalanced regional situation. This includes weighing old games appropriately to support those who cannot play any more games and potentially reducing the weight of games that some regions can play when others cannot. Our Competitive Play task force is working on several different postseason scenarios so that once we get an indication of what we as an organization can safely, fairly and economically run this year, we’ll be able to provide a rankings system to support that decision and our member leagues.

Q: I’m putting together my package for certification.  I have several Overview of Officiating Skills (OOS) on file, but the shutdown is making it almost impossible to obtain my remaining ones.  My remaining references are now occupied with real-world issues regarding the pandemic and are either unable or unwilling to write them. Will certification extend the 90-day lifespan of OOSs currently on file?

A: The process for getting an OOS resubmitted after the 90-day lifespan is simple – the author needs to email certification@wftda.com to state that their writing is still valid and up-to-date. We’d prefer to stick to this system amidst all of the other pending changes due to cancellations of tournaments.

Q: Why are you dragging on providing guidance for leagues during this international crisis that is in line with Centers for Disease Control recommendations for social gatherings?

A: We hear you that it feels like these should be relatively quick decisions to make–and since you mentioned the Centers for Disease Control, it’s important to remind folks that we are a global organization with 23 countries to manage as compassionately as we can. The CDC guidelines are applicable in the United States only. We expect to see some areas manage COVID-19 better than others, and return to play at a different time, in the same way the virus will spread in different ways around the globe. So we have a lot to account for. The WFTDA began a task force on March 3rd in response to this outbreak. We have been monitoring updates daily with the World Health Organization, CDC, and others and began making statements to leagues on the forums at this time. On March 11th, we advised leagues in areas with cases of COVID-19 to limit non essential activities as well as to contact/follow municipal authorities on any mandates they had. The WFTDA made a statement on Monday, March 16th to suspend all activities. This statement was already in the works from a meeting on 3/14 when the CDC announced it’s recommendations for social gatherings on March 16th. This will continued to be monitored and we will not recommend activities resume until such time that we know we can do so safely.

Q: May 10th seems to be the date that the CDC plans on letting groups of 50 gather. Will tournaments after that date be held?

A: May 10th is a tentative date set by the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and there is a possibility that this will be extended. All tournament decisions will be based upon recommendations from their governing body (i.e., Us, CDC, WHO, etc.)

Q: What happens if someone on our team has been exposed?

A: If someone on the team has been exposed, they should contact your local office of emergency management for the protocol in your particular area. Typically, many local governments are asking folks with contact to known positive cases to self quarantine, but the WFTDA can’t provide you with medical advice. What we can do is ask you to make sure your league has all of the appropriate contact numbers ready for emergency management, local hospitals or medical professionals in your area. That’s one thing your league can do to help make sure your members are prepared.


Q:  That May 10 estimation has since changed. Right now it’s gatherings of 10 or fewer until the end of March. I assume the CDC will re-evaluate sometime between now and then to make a new recommendation. [34:19]

A: The 8 week period by the CDC still applies. The March recommendations were by the White House. There will be more updates as this situation continues.

Q:  Will leagues be required to redo minimum skills testing once practice is able to resume? [36:43]

A: WFTDA is not recommending that MSR testing is redone at this time. It will be up to the league to determine the needs for their own charter team as per usual. You will certify that new skaters have completed the MSRs and are safe to play when you submit your charters.

Q: Will WFTDA insurance renewal dates be extended for those restricted from playing? [36:11] / Will WFTDA insurance roll over to next season if this hole season is canceled? [37:08]
Q: Now that WFTDA has suspended training and gameplay will we be getting a prorated credit for unused WFTDA insurance? [42:59]

A:  Unfortunately, our insurer is not going to prorate or refund our premiums because of this unprecedented global issue. Like other insurance coverage (auto, health, home), premiums do not change simply because the policies are not used.

However, reduced claim activity may result in a premium reduction in the coming year (i.e. “good behavior” reductions on auto policies for sustained periods of time without accidents). We cannot say for certain this early in the year, but we are looking into potential reductions in 2021.

Q:  is there an update on the European Continental Cup? A venue had not been arranged prior to the lockdown, has this changed? [36:38]

A: We have selected Rebellion Roller Derby to host the Cup in Northampton UK, however all postseason dates and the structure of the tournaments are up in the air until we can determine when people can play and when we can have large gatherings. WFTDA is in continual contact with our selected tournament hosts and making plans with them as we determine our postseason.

Q:  How will Officiating selection for Post Season (if it goes ahead) be adjusted now that Sanctioned Games and Tournaments have been canceled or postponed. [36:43]

A:  All minimum requirements for the postseason have been removed – beyond that, guidance will be given for staffing to ensure that a lack of 2020 games is not detrimental to an official’s staffing.

Q:  How will this affect game requirements for the different certification levels? [39:08]

A: Certification will evaluate the full scope of adjustments needed when the full scope of cancellations for the season is more apparent. Adjustments will be made, and before they are finalized, if you do not meet requirements due to COVID-19 cancellations, please feel free to apply for an exception by filling out this form.

Q:  WFTDA recently suspended the 30-day sanctioning requirement. Will they also consider suspending the 30-day charter submission deadline? [39:24]

A: We are not at this time however once we are able to relaunch our competitive season the Competitive Play Task Force will determine if it also makes sense to have a one-time change to the charter submission deadline to re-launch play.

Q: What will happen with the teams that had scheduled their first ranking game in this period? And if the team already had a strength factor game in 2019, and this year was their first sanctioned game? How can those teams make it to the ranking lists? [39:31]

A: We have had a couple of teams ask this question of us and our WFTDA Rankings team is currently discussing how to support teams in this situation.

Q: what motivation will there be to teams currently ranked in the top 28 to play sanctioned games if/when the restrictions are lifted? Seems like it will be easy for them to just sit tight on their ranking, making it impossible for teams outside the 28 to climb and compete for a playoff spot? [39:07]

A: The Competitive Play Task Force will look at our ranking system and how it will impact teams both within and outside the top level. We are committed to working towards doing the best we can to support play at this time.

Q:  Will there be cancellation fees for already scheduled/approved sanctioned games that can no longer be held due to city closures of venues? [41:23]

A: No – we have suspended all late sanctioning fees until further notice and there are no cancellation fees from WFTDA.

Q: When will you share the new weighting/ calculator you are looking to implement? [41:15]

A: We should be able to roll out the fixed date rankings period within the next few days. Rankings is working on the new weighting/calculator and hope to get it out as soon as they can, but we don’t have an exact date for that yet. We are working on options in the coming weeks and will share the new weighting options with our membership after our experts have been able to determine a better picture of when play will resume and what mechanisms will meet our needs at that time. However, we are hoping to share the calculator with the frozen rankings as soon as possible.

Q: The volunteer nature of everything derby will be tested when things resume, how can the governing body help the struggling teams? [43:28]

A: WFTDA is committed to supporting our leagues as best we can. We recognize that this is a crisis of global proportions and it will hit some businesses and individuals harder than others. We don’t have answers yet on how we will support struggling teams, but we are committed to communication and looking to provide options to people wherever possible. To start, our conversation with the Recognized Tournaments this weekend will help us assess the damage to those hosts and what support we can give them. We will assess our membership, officiating and other programs outside of competitive play as we see the effects of the pandemic on our sport overall.

Q: What do you suggest to teams counting on older bouts falling off their rankings in order to move up, now that rankings as of March are frozen? [43:51]

A: The decay factor is our current mechanism for looking to keep people ranked but to also appropriately minimize the weight of games that occurred potentially 15 months or more from the restart of play. WFTDA Rankings is considering this scenario as well as the opposite scenario where a team may have higher game points that no longer reflect their strength to determine how to move forward and support our leagues collectively.

Q: If WFTDA is taking this week by week, instead of following in line with other professional and collegiate organizations, will there be weekly updates like this to inform folks of where our organization stands? Or how far out can we expect to notify of cancellation requirements for games, tournaments, or even post-season tournaments? [44:14]

A: This will all depend on the recommendations of your government, community recommendations. Check https://resources.wftda.org/covid-19/ for updates.

Q: Our team was counting on the March games from 2019 to drop. We worked to get games in early this season and the freeze hurts the rise we counted on. Is there any possibility of allowing teams who do have current games in the calculator to drop their games that are 12 months old? [45:38]

A:     (Already Answered)

Q: Would you consider larger charters for sanctioned play once we get closer to returning to play? It’s hard to know 30-days in advance if you’ll be sick, or have to care for someone who is sick, and a larger charter (of maybe 30?) might take some burden off committing to gameplay in this uncertain time. [Not sure]

A: Our systems are not set up to accept more than the allowed maximum number of skaters but we will take this potential situation into consideration when we review our charter deadlines when the gameplay is relaunched.