So, since the WTRL team is shutting down all discussion on their FB page about the 2021/2022 rules changes, specifically around U16 participation, I thought I’d bring it here instead.
Rules for reference.
First, it would be terrific to hear commentary from Zwift about whether there was any discussion between Zwift HQ & WTRL around youth participation on ZRL. If so, what that discussion covered, and whether any agreements resulted.
Second, I would like a full explanation from WTRL about why they’ve made this change. Specifically, what has legally changed between last season and this that has made them feel obligated to remove U16’s from participation in ZRL. Especially since this doesn’t seem to affect other events WTRL runs (Classics, TTTs) with Zwift.
Third, I’d like to know why WTRL feels legally obligated to eliminate children from ZRL when the parental consent & compliance (COPPA, GDPR) is between Zwift & the families. WTRL has nothing to do with this relationship. Also, why the seemingly arbitrary 16 year old choice? Is there some jurisdiction where 16 is the age of consent that applies here? Is it because that’s the age where Zwift users become paying customers?
Fourth, besides the open questions above, I want to reiterate how poorly this is being handled by WTRL, how alienating it is for many youth participants and their families, and how hypocritical it feels to see this rule implemented without explanation.
What’s next – are youth going to be banned from Zwift entirely? Maybe it’s time to check out Rouvy’s family plan more closely. Or maybe it’s time for Zwift & WTRL to create a real juniors league.
Needless to say, this is a disappointing decision by WTRL and I like to think Zwift can exert to some influence to reverse the call, especially given the somewhat unique relationship between the two entities. I’m sure everyone involved fully understands that these same youth are often participating in IRL crits & racing events, frequently with adults, and it’s working great there. In fact, it’s critical to continuing to develop future generations of adult riders & racers. This decision is alienating the entire population of junior racers and their families.