Birmingham Blitz Dames and Central City Roller Derby to Merge
Birmingham Blitz Dames and Central City Roller Derby to Merge Two of the UK’s leading roller derby leagues are joining together to form Birmingham Roller Derby. Birmingham Blitz Dames (BBD) and Central City Roller Derby (CCR) have operated in Birmingham since 2006 and 2007, with both leagues achieving significant competitive success as part of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), the leading governing body for global roller derby. BBD and CCR have been integral to the growth and development of UK roller derby over the course of the last decade. The teams have developed high-level skaters, coaches and officials, and hosted key, international roller derby tournaments and events in the Midlands. The decision to merge follows a year-long discussion and consultation process with both leagues, subsequent to a long hiatus from active training due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Director at Central City Roller Derby, Steven Liner-Douglas said: “When we first went into lockdown back in March 2020, like many teams we had no idea we would still not be skating 16 months later. “BBD and CCR have co-existed for a long time, and there has always been a friendly, sporting rivalry amongst our teams. Competitively, it was always a positive to have a good team close by to train and play against but, in the wake of the pandemic, a merger was a clear decision to ensure we can return stronger than ever.” Skater Jo Long added: “This is a really exciting moment for our members, for our city and for UK Roller Derby – BBD and CCR are both successful, competitive leagues with formidable and talented skaters. We are hopeful that together we will be a real challenge to the top teams in the world”. The merger has been officially recognised by the WFTDA, with Birmingham Roller Derby readying to return to training as one, new member league. Conversations around initial ranking placement and structure are still on-going. The merger has also been supported by Manchester’s Rainy City Roller Derby, with Rainy Citys leadership offering guidance on internal processes, return to training structure and diversity initiatives. Rainy City have also agreed to join Birmingham Roller Derby’s Board of Trustees to continue to provide support and guidance in the early stages of the league’s development. With the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Birmingham Roller Derby are keen to make the most of the increased excitement around sports in the city. The league are planning to be actively involved in community events and initiatives that are in keeping with their diversity and inclusivity values. Skater Tanya Morrison said: “Considering the rich diversity of the city, I’m so excited to be a part of what we believe, will be the most ethnically diverse team in the UK. As a black female skater, I believe that ’ it is important for the sustainability and growth of the sport to see representation in all forms and show that this sport is truly accessible to everyone.” Skater Hannah Grant added: “As Birmingham Roller Derby, we want to ensure we are a space where everyone can participate and enjoy roller derby as a part of our league. “Throughout our merger discussions, it was clear that building our presence in Birmingham and supporting the local community was at the forefront of our vision and values. We were two strong teams from the same, amazing city; our coming together means we can now combine all of our resources and our love of the sport to make Roller Derby - and Birmingham - even stronger”. Training for Birmingham Roller Derby will commence following WFTDA guidelines. New members are actively encouraged to join from Autumn 2021. For more information, please visit www.birminghamrollerderby.co.uk or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.