"Polo in Europe is so much more of a boys club than in NA"

So there is this The World Bike Polo Lounge | Facebook group on FB and it seems to have quite a strong NA presence but a low Euro presence. Someone made the statement in this
Discussion saying:

Makes sense why polo in Europe is so much more of a boys club than in NA. I wouldn’t want to play with them either lol

I would love to read european flinta players take on this.

Also in the same discussion they are talking about the evidently lower participation of european flinta players at the Worlds, which apparently also was a topic during the Flinta Plenum between bln:mixed and Euros. One of the reasons brought forward during the Plenum was

fear of ‘dangerous play’/higher bruise mode compared to regular tournaments with less at stake

Were any other reasons mentioned?

Edit: Please feel free to reply in a direct message, if you don´t want to do so in public.


Disclaimer: I took this notes during the Flinta forum that happened in Berlin between Mixed and Euros. This is only the part about the low flinta participation at the Euros. Those ideas/thoughts/feelings were expressed during the forum or on the online discussion that followed. It does not mean that it is shared/endorsed by the entire flinta community

Participation at Euros is linked to flinta participation at the country Euros qualifyers. Some numbers: Germany: 3 flinta with less than 4 years of polo for 7 teams. Spain: 4 teams, no flinta, France: 12 teams , 1 flinta

2 all flinta teams at European championship: amazing because it means we take the space, it will make visible that so few flinta players in those championship + show how skilled the flinta players are!!

Why no more flinta players at Euros? Why didn’t you register?

  • scared to not be “good enough”
  • “too competitive”
  • “too dangerous,/scared for my health”, “too much testosterone/toxic masculinity on court”
  • No one asked and “not confident enough to try and make a team”
  • People asked but “not the kind of team I want to play with”

Importance of flinta spaces, like hells belles, Mallet dolorosa,etc. to gain confidence, to go out there and be the scene. Importance of the mixed formats for helping flinta to take up speed on the court, play faster games, access higher level tournaments, etc.

IDEA: making every tournament mixed mandatory for 3-4 years, than if they want to win, they have to get involved in recruiting/increasing the level of flinta players/coach for improving skills of flinta, etc.

Discussion followed in the telegram chat, and one of the things that was added is that inclusivity in the Bike polo community is not only about Flinta, concerns also black people, lower income, fat people, kids,… How to make Bike polo easy to access for people from all backgrounds/countries/etc


Euros : 1 Belgian (international) team with 3 flinta players :muscle::muscle::muscle:

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Not flinta but I couldn’t agree more on the “dangerous play” and “toxic masculinity”. I’m bored to see people getting hurt only because none of the two dudes throwing themselves on the ball could wait for the other to take it and then try to steal it. I mean, prove that you’re the best player by doing so, not throwing yourself like a Canon ball hoping you’ll win the contest.

For the one who don’t know, I played with WHO at the worlds. And we tried our best to keep it civil. Most of the games were nice and I think it’s because we played it nice too. Even some teams known to be trashy were playing nice bike polo against us. And that’s proving one point : many people would love to play better/nicer polo but some players can’t hold their i-need-to-prove-i’m-stronger and it switchs quickly to a shitty game.

So, yes, I think this is a big issue. And I personally think this behavior should be punished way harder than it is now. 30seconds is nothing, I’d let the player out of the game or even ban them from the tournament when something stupid like that happen.


agreed and i never had the energy to contest at high level bike polo in 13 years. i ve always been a very passive player and i never broke anything but seeing such a high amount of injuries this season prove the point. i ranked 2nd of fhbpc in 2012 with piks and tonnio and 7th the year after with utopist and that was probably the most intense level i had because of the stakes people really really want to win ( i never felt that urge )
back then rules where non existent as well so you really had to be aware of where you would put yourself.

i just want to see how far i can classify without hurting myself :sweat_smile:

although , i would say that these players know why they are ready to make this sacrifice and play 200% something they are passionate about. the reffing is essential to control these feelings and keep the players in check.

in an ideal world everyone is perfect.

i hope the conversation remains open and i believe that we are a big enough crowd to cater events and tournaments aimed at each levels of players ,

maybe some player have to admit that the most competitive plays are not for them

maybe some of the elite players have to retire before they kill themselves trying to beat each other year after year and just be satisfied with the amazing 10 years run they had.

i think the latest already happen in NA and have allowed a newer scene to take over, without their 10 years old top team dominating the scene it allowed for newly re organised and better gender balanced team to emerged.

when in europe those same “teams” ( but rather say pool of 10yo players) kept training with the world champ title in mind , brushing off any newish player from their rank by a wild natural selection .

i think if a team of flinta had stick together for 10 years and kept on playing today they would have been on top no doubt. and i encourage flinta player to start doing so right now , but the sacrifice to be at this level is huge and keep in mind that a lot of non-flinta players also feel that gap. a lot of flinta players stopped playing , and a lot of non flinta players too. unfortunately the ratio of genders never been equal in bike polo so we will hugely miss on any flinta players stopping.

at the end of the day you will always be exposed to dangerous play within bike polo even at pick up because of dick heads but you dont have to mix with them.

thats unfortunately a reality for many activities and even in all flinta sports ( Women NBA has quite a few extreme bully as far as i ve seen) and it might be the case in polo in the future, with the sport growing more, the competitiveness reaching new heights , and the feeling of “family” fading away, that some aggressive behaviours emerge within the all flinta crowd itself.

my final saying is that i would love next year to be mandatory mix gender worlds at least one year just to make it happen since all the flinta players are demanding it.

i think the all male teams can definetly commit to train all season with the player of their choice and make it work.although the pool of flinta player is very scarce and it would be hard for every team to find one, or a lot of work or pressure for the flinta player joining a top team

i also think it would allow for more balanced and respectful games.

ive never been so proud to see polo with so many mix gender team at worlds playing the best they could against the top.
the level displayed by these flinta players was on pair with any other and i didnt feel that they were “tokenized” or there only for the quota.

instead i saw great polo and i would be very proud to see this sport evolve in this way.

if established all male teams disagree they can throw a side tournaments without mandatory mix team and call it “the super smash bros”

but it would be healing for the community to think about next year in this fully inclusive way and realize it is a fantastic opportunity for us to do so.


I don’t believe that the lack of flinta players at the highest level in europe has anything to do with a lack of sacrifice or passion, I think that would be ignoring the gender bias and the sexism that exist in our society.

I don’t think either that it is the ‘contact sport’ part that is driving flinta players away from even trying to participate in those high level bike polo events. I think it is the toxic behaviour and the aggressive/reckless moves on and off the courts that take up more space when there is more at stake. And it is not easy to solve systemic sexism/racism/ableism/… but I think it would be rather easy to get rid of those moves by making it clear in the rules that those kind of behaviour are not accepted in our community and can lead to exclusion of the game/the tournament/the club etc.

I know some club have a kind of ‘safe space comitment’, that you have to sign when you register to the club. We could implement this kind of things at each tournament and at an national/european/world level, and I think it would not only be beneficial for flinta* but for everyone and especially underrepresented groups in our community.

It would be very interesting to compare the numbers @dovebarthod compiled for the worlds to regular tournaments. Typically I know some tournaments have been not mixed mandatory/mixed/ not mixed mandatory. I believe that happened, in portugal, maybe in bern too, i can’t recall. I think it would help to understand what are the good levers to increase the flinta* participation by comparing those numbers to other tournaments/priority mixed tournaments/national qualifyers/ european championships/etc.

I am personally in favor of mixed mandatory worlds, even if in an ideal world we wouldn’t need to make it mandatory. But until we are a really mixed and inclusive community at the highest level, I think it would be a very powerful tool to improve the flinta* presence both at club level and in high level tournaments.



So much on Point.

Not a flinta player, as the OP was addressing, but this seems to be best place for constructive discussions, so I would like to share my own thoughts here:

Mixed mandatory tournaments would be detrimental to the competitive integrity of the sport. And, in regard to the discussion about flinta players competiting at the top level, it could very well be little more than a quick-fix solution that only addresses the issue of representation.

Evidently though, things needs to change.

My understanding is that the main issues are that we do not have enough flinta players in the community full stop, meaning the talent pool and support network is very small. Secondly, we currently do not have a balanced aproach to competition in the tournament season, meaning the development of both individuals and teams are stunted.

Here are some changes that I would like to see:

-Flinta representation within the EHBA

-Qualification spots reserved for mixed teams attempting to qualify for Euros and Worlds.

-Campaigns and resources to encourage recruitment of flinta players at club level.

-More flinta only spaces at club level

-Fewer mixed mandatory tournaments, and instead more open tournaments which take an integrative approach to promoting inclusivity (e.g. ‘Slayer’ & ‘Challenger’ elimination brackets, and by encouraging established flinta & mixed teams to participate via invites / multiple spots in the lottery).


Please develop on that, brushing over this seams insuffisant to convince anyone else.

Questions to the flintas of our community: do you consider this useful?

Sure but that’s a difficult thing to implement in clubs that are rookies to flinta integration

Let’s do this! Someone create some ressources that we can use!

This is where you lost me.
I now think that the sport should be mandatory mixed for competitive tournaments and open for others allowing growth of all players.
I think the most competitive environment is most beneficial for any player to develop. Sure it would be charming to see our mixed sports naturally grow, but at the price of all the flintas that are already competitive enough but lack the experience and opportunity at the top level.
In my opinion, the greatest tool to flinta growth and recruitment is representation in podiums prizes, and mandatory mixed will fix this instantly.
I have anecdotal evidence to back this up: Montpellier had no flinta players last year. By luck we had 2 person that joined the ranks through their partner (Raf) and family (Luce) then, after seeing succesful and competitive flintas in the our September tournament 3 more flintas feel like they have a place with us when they had their doubts to even start before.
I think it’s mainly because they see the game is not a pretend-a-mixed-sport and is genuinely progressive.
Point is:
What do we have to loose in a mandatory mixed gender environment? Privilege?! And worse come to worse, we can go back if we feel like it was wrong.
Let’s not kid ourselves, it will be a few transitional years, where the general level will go down but i genuinely feel like it will not last long as we give space for flintas to shine.


I know flintas are looking at this and do not share their feelings/opinions on the matter publicly. Your voice is gold and is necessary for the development of the sport. I certainly don’t want to impose a Cis-male conclusion on the matter.
People with influence can only act on what they hear, and this is a place to be heard for all of you. Your opinions are valid and your insight is valuable. 🫶🏼


i share the same ideas and vision for the sport. i would rather have the main season mandatory mix with a side of elite bro only “ehbpa events” than the opposite.


Just throwing extra info out there, there is precedent to mandatory mixed-gender sports, such as adventure racing, where the standard format is mixed teams of 4, and it is very hard to find something more bad-ass than that.


just a reminder that the op asked for european flinta players opinions. maybe highjacking this post with yall’s “two cents” doesn’t really have a place here


@JasonEnVelo I was considering following your invitation to share thoughts. Was going over how to phrase why I’m not engaging here as a FLINTA player. Then the recent comments illustrate it very well.

Appreciate the allies who speak up here! I don’t have the resources to engage in yet another toxic discussion so really grateful for those who can and do.


how did you find that “silence is the best option” is a apropriate sentence to conclude your post ? im also quite offended to be called a simp because of my take on this.

if a majority of player feel the need of making the game mandatory mixed , how is that imposing anything ? whzt are you even talking about when you mention history ? mankind or bike polo ?

keep your messages polite and on track with what you want to say you already discouraged jule to chat about this very important subject.

no one has the time of energy to deal with this but i feel its important to 1 call out bad behaviours as a comunity to stop it 2 keep the dialogue open and say what is your ideal take to make things go forward and not let obstacles become a dead end

how far bike polo can progress is only up to how well we get along with each other so try your best


The claim that polo in Europe more strongly resembles a boys’ club compared to North America (NA) appears to be supported by the composition of teams and results at the World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship (WHBPC) and the North American Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship (NAHBPC), as well as anecdotal observations of gameplay in Perpignan. A charitable interpretation of this argument might lay out the premises as follows:

Premise 1:
There is a higher percentage of FLINTA (Females, Lesbians, Intersex, Non-binary, Trans, and agender persons) players among the North American teams that participated in WHBPC 2023, as well as across the entire participant roster at NAHBPC 2023 when compared to the percentage of FLINTA players in European teams at WHBPC 2023 and at the European Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships (EHBPC) 2023.

Premise 2:
The underrepresentation of FLINTA players in major competitive events in Europe could reflect a region-wide issue, where the proportion of FLINTA players in Europe at these top-level events matches the overall proportion of FLINTA players in the European polo community. This suggests that the European FLINTA polo community is smaller than North America’s.

Premise 3:
Variations in total FLINTA representation between regions could be attributed to various factors.

Premise 4:
Any disparity in FLINTA participation at elite competitive events that regional participation rates cannot account for must be due to a lack of opportunity or a diminished desire to participate at these levels.

Premise 5:
Differences in the desire or opportunity for FLINTA players to participate in high-level competitions are ultimately linked to male behaviour, both during games and in team selection.

This is abductive reasoning or inference to the best explanation, many claims would require supporting evidence and there are alternative explanations. I think it’s important we be clear about what is being said.

I’d like to know what those proposing a temporary move toward mandatory mixed are aiming to achieve. Paint a picture of bike polo when mandatory is removed. What would success look like?


French translation of my post can be found here
German translation here.
Spanish translation here. here

Chat GPT generated these translations. I translated back and forth to check that no contradictions got through and did a few extra checks but I cannot guarantee they are perfect. If people spot problems let me know and I will edit and repost.

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is your first post also chatgp ?

its giving me a headache in all languages to be fair :sweat_smile:

like your last sentence : “I’d like to know what those proposing a temporary move toward mandatory mixed are aiming to achieve. Paint a picture of bike polo when mandatory is removed. What would success look like?”

you wanna know what ? what mandatory mixed will bring to the table ? but then you ask “paint a picture when mandatory is removed” :hear_no_evil: i was gonna paint something but now im not sure

and whats success ???

in my experience the only premise ive seen in europe is not mentioned there : its the fact that top teams are sealed for about 10 years , and back then the amount of flinta player was nearly non existent. you might have had 1 flinta player there and there but they would have not enough numbers to produce flinta players that could compete to the top.

how do one player become a good player ? its a mix of talent and experience. not all male players are good, and same goes for female players , but out of 10 newbies you will get one that comes off the lot. so if thru the season you recruit 10 newbie , 9 are males 1 female the percentage of getting top flinta players in your club is lower. (keep in mind im talking about 2011, now the numbers are way different. )its unfair , its not “everyone is equal” but its a reality . now back to the flinta crowd , the slimer it is the less chance you have to bring out a great flinta player to top levels.

also its not like we had 100 male players coming in and trying bike polo : we would barely be 6 players , 15 was a strong club ! so we have achieved great result in such years and definetly made bike polo more appealing to the masses.

culturally i think old europe is very crusty, very into themself and old fashion. spain , france and italy especially always been very low percentage of flinta players, but in my experience it was never from a lack of inclusivity just 1 poor club management , as you could expect from a new made up sport 2 disregard from the local crowd to get involve in such activities.

this for me is the factual explanation of the growth of bike polo in the clubs i m failliar with

now that mentality are evolving and clubs are more self aware and organized i can definetly see a rise of flinta accross all clubs , mandatory mix will put them on top of the draft pile and give the best flinta players a ton of opportunity. wether they gain experience and become top players will still be up to them and their teams . It will also put the world wide polo comunity on the same page if next whbpc are labeled mixed mandatory , everyone will commit and train with a flinta.

this past season i noticed two patterns of team draft : the teams that commit to the mixed philosohy : america , players like jason florida who openly say “i will never play a non mix team” , latinos who represented their very club with very few out of town extras ( only colombia seemed to struggle putting out a full team and instead juan and beto where split drafted)

and then the teams that aligned to mongrels , and really thought they had a chance at beating them , mostly euro teams that actually had a chance at beating them during the season ( rasta rocket, didiers, lessive, malabar) in that case skills was the ultimate factor regardless of gender.

dont get me wrong you could find a flinta player that equal skillz of a few of these top cats but the "been playing together for 10 years " factor is what ultimately decide the draft : you would have to really blend in perfectly in the team strategies and mood to make say team comfortable to play with you, ultimately that team would have to really believe that , with such formation they have a chance at taking on mongrels and all the top teams.

IMO the top teams alignment and the clubs who put the bids out for next whbpc will decide what next season will look like . choosing collectively mandatory mix would just speed up the team drafting and newly form mix teams would be able to start training asap.


I have difficulty knowing what people believe about the current situation. I thought I would probe the people who have supported a proposed action; temporary mixed mandatory. Ideally I’d like to hear a range of views but it seems fair to start by probing those who have put their hat in the ring so to speak. If someone is urging me to take a specific action, I can only assume they have at least one goal in mind that is over and above merely taking the action for its own sake. I’d like to know what that goal is. More specifically, what is predicted to happen if all goes according to plan. If I know what people predict then I can better understand what they believe, value and in turn desire.

I’m very puzzled by the lack of open dialogue around this subject.

That’s a plausible explanation!

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I’ll use this thread to share my strong feelings on the matter and I made an alt account so that I won’t be recognized. (I will say that I’m read as a cis male)

Let me start by saying that I see that this sport is in a unique position to create an inclusive and progressive system for the future. We all love this sport. This now is the time to implement changes for an up to date concept for events that celebrate this sport, such as a tournaments.

I want to plead for a system in this sport that uses a mandatory mixed format in competitions on all levels, especially on the highest levels. I’ve been doing all kinds of sports all my life and it was always sad to see how male dominated and structurally male favoring pretty much all of them have to be. Polo faces the same problem. If you question this reality, this is not the post for you to discuss it but have an in person, respectful, discussion with the flinta people in your club. If you don’t have such a person in your club, you make a great point in case why you shouldn’t have a strong opinion on the matter.

From mandatory mixed tournaments on all levels, especially on the highest, everyone would benefit/profit. It would elevate this sport/hobby to a new level. Mandatory mixed tournaments do not discriminate anybody. Literally nobodys situation is getting depreciate by such a change.

If you are a male polo player, literally this doesn’t concern you in the slightest. The only argument here can be that you have had a three male player team and now are scared that you can’t play with your dudes anymore in a tournament that other people organize for you. And if that is your reason why you stand in the way of important progressive change towards a better future for this sport then you are the very problem we need to solve.

Mandatory mixed tournaments at this level of sport organization would bypass the problems that most other sports face, namely structurally incorporated sexism and transphobia. It would set the tone for an inclusive atmosphere in local clubs. It would encourage everybody to give that sport a chance, people that otherwise so often are repelled by toxic dude culture that is prominent.
Let’s do this.