England volleyball coach Simon Loftus says he is concerned about the future of the sport in the UK after the effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Loftus is the head coach of the England men’s volleyball team, a role he has held for five years. He is also a lecturer in sports coaching at Kingston University.
He fears that the strain put on the sport by the coronavirus pandemic could have lasting consequences for those involved. Despite this, he is optimistic that upcoming events will help promote the sport.
He said: “The game in the UK could be in danger as it is over a year since there has been any competitive indoor volleyball. However, with the Commonwealth Games next year and with beach volleyball being included, it could serve as a welcome boost for the popularity of the sport.”
Loftus went onto describe the funding that has been made available outside the UK to keep the sport going.
He said: “Globally many of the professional leagues across the world are still being played and the FIVB has just announced a $300 million partnership with CVC to better market the game.”
The sport in the UK is understandably something of great concern to Loftus.
Loftus was previously coach of the Scotland men’s volleyball team. He maintains that the sporting rivalry between England and Scotland was not a major concern of his when taking the England role.
He said: “I was the Scottish National Team Head Coach until 2013 and was Assistant Coach at the 2012 Olympic Games, so the prospect of taking over the England Team in 2016 wasn’t an issue as I knew many of the English players from the Olympic programme.”
Loftus, who is originally from Scotland, says that there is no split loyalty when he manages the English.
He said: “At the end of the day I want to work with athletes that are serious about their sport regardless of where they come from. I was extremely happy when England won the 50th Anniversary match vs Scotland in 2019 with me as the coach.”
England volleyball is planning to return at some point this year, but because of coronavirus restrictions, it is not yet known when this will be.