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Mon 9th Jul 2018

Hope for Polo?

Argentine Polo Players Association Meeting

On Friday 6 July, the Argentine Polo Players Association (AAJP) hosted a meeting at Guards Polo Club, which was attended by Olly Hughes and David Woodd from the HPA, the Polo Players Association’s (PPA) Earl of Tyrone, plus members of the UK polo community including Chris Hyde, Max Charlton and Mark Tomlinson to name just a few. Unfortunately, despite an invitation, Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, did not attend the meeting.

The aim of the meeting was to discuss a series of topics, click here to read these in full, with the aim of finding solutions to the issues which are currently threatening the health of UK polo.
After an introduction by the AAJP’s Juan Quintana, the floor was opened to the audience, with the focus upon solutions. Grievances surrounding the current ‘visa issue’ such as a lack of skilled polo grooms, a deficiency of players below the 15 goal and the overall decline in UK polo. According to the AAJP, in 2016 there were 2,500 members registered with the HPA and this year the number had dropped to just 1,500 – a worrying statistic, which most agree is due to the strict criteria being imposed upon the polo community by the Home Office.
The idea of a representative committee, comprising of a panel made up of a selection from various leading polo communities such as the UK, USA and Argentina, was floated to the audience. Although the merits included a united front to tackle the issues faced in the UK polo community, others felt that this mixed representation may only add to the confusion.
In all it appeared to be a useful meeting for those in attendance to air their grievances around the UK visa issue and whilst the number of solutions were seemingly at times outweighed by the problems, it was surely a step in the right direction to secure the future of British polo. 
 
Photograph: David Woodd was amongst those who attended the meeting at Guards Polo Club on Friday 6 July. By Polo Times

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