Women's Flat Track Derby Association
|No. of teams||
381 Full Member leagues|
66 Apprentice leagues
(As of 26 November 2016)
Rose City Rollers (Division 1);|
Sacred City Derby Girls (Division 2)
|Most titles||Gotham Girls Roller Derby (5)|
The Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) is an association of women's flat track roller derby leagues around the world. The organization was founded in April 2004 as the United Leagues Coalition (ULC) but was renamed in November 2005. It is registered in Raleigh, North Carolina as a 501(c)(6) business league organization, which is a type of nonprofit organization. According to its mission statement, the organization "promotes and fosters the sport of women's flat track roller derby by facilitating the development of athletic ability, sportsmanship, and goodwill among member leagues" and its governing philosophy is "by the skaters, for the skaters" — the primary owners, managers, and operators of each member league and of the association are women skaters, although this does not preclude any particular business structure (leagues don't have to be legally incorporated or internally egalitarian). The mission statement also says WFTDA sets "standards for rules, seasons, and safety, and determining guidelines for the national and international athletic competitions of member leagues" and says "all member leagues have a voice in the decision-making process, and agree to comply with WFTDA policies."
In 2004, the United Leagues Coalition (ULC) was an informal electronic message board through which established leagues compared notes in order to prepare for interleague play, and it was also used to exchange information to help new leagues that were just getting started. The ULC evolved into a more formal organization in July 2005, when representatives of 20 leagues met in Chicago to discuss establishing a governing body for women's flat-track roller derby. At the meeting, a voting system was established, as was a set of goals and a timeline established for facilitating interleague play. Among these goals was the production of a standard track design and standard game rules. The design and rules which were settled upon and distributed later that year. In November 2005, the ULC voted to change its name to the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), with initial membership of 22 leagues (soon expanded to 30 members by early 2006).
In early 2006, a track design and rules were published on the organization's fledgling web site.
On August 15, 2007, the WFTDA announced it had struck a deal with the MavTV network to record, edit and broadcast the 2007 Eastern Regional Tournament as a weekly series of 12 one-hour episodes (one episode per bout).
In September 2007, the WFTDA was admitted to USA Roller Sports (USARS) as a Class V member — a national amateur roller skating organization — and a WFTDA delegate joined the USARS Board of Directors.
In June 2008 the WFTDA Rules Committee created a Question and Answer forum to "provide definitive and final answers about the Women's Flat Track Derby Association Standard Rules, and in July, the WFTDA started its referee certification program. The official WFTDA magazine fiveonfive began publication in September 2008. In November, it was announced that for 2009, WFTDA member leagues would be divided into four regions, rather than two: West, South Central, North Central, and East. Each region has a tournament scheduled, followed by a national championship.
At the start of 2013, the geographic regions were replaced with three divisions, each operating worldwide. However, foreseeing continued growth in membership, the WFTDA stated that future developments were likely to include new regional structures alongside the divisional system.
In July 2005 the United Leagues Coalition (ULC) was a somewhat formal organization of 20-plus leagues. By early 2006, the organization had grown to 30 leagues, a cap decided upon at the July 2005 meeting. In February of that year, soon after the initial membership requirements were published (and following the fragmentation of several leagues), a "multi-league per city" clause was added. Although throughout early and mid-2006 the clause was listed as a requirement for membership, WFTDA's web site was later updated to state that the policy is "unofficial". WFTDA also claimed the policy was intended to uphold goodwill between members — by excluding leagues not likely to find favor with established members — as well as to prevent rival leagues in the same city from being privy to each other's "proprietary information."
Around this time, induction of new member leagues was put on hold until revised membership requirements could be discussed at the next face-to-face meeting, which was held in May 2006. Following that meeting, a press release was issued to promote the organization and publicize the meeting. The June statement covered the following points:
- Representatives of the "30 founding leagues" met to discuss rules, business structure, skill standards, rankings and future tournaments.
- 30 more leagues were slated to be inducted in mid-2006, bringing the potential total membership to 60.
- Version Two of the WFTDA Flat Track Derby Standardized Rules for Interleague Play was announced as forthcoming in mid-2006.
- Changes to the member league divisions were announced.
- A 2007 tournament schedule was announced.
In February 2008, WFTDA announced that leagues from Canada would be eligible for membership. By September 2008, WFTDA membership had grown to 60 leagues.
In January 2009, Montreal Roller Derby became the first Canadian league admitted as a member, the WFTDA's 66th member, and was placed in the East region. Also in January, the WFTDA announced it would stop accepting applications for new membership from February until July, so that it could concentrate on internal restructuring in order to, among other things, "grow the scope" of the organization. Later in the year, in May, the first officially sanctioned international WFTDA bout was played between Montreal Roller Derby and Harrisburg Area Roller Derby at the Olympic Skating Center in Enola, Pennsylvania.
In July 2009, the WFTDA announced the new WFTDA Apprentice Program for aspiring member leagues, replacing its traditional membership application process. The program is designed to act as a "WFTDA 101" tutorial, and will match new leagues with an established WFTDA mentor, who will guide the apprentice through the processes and requirements necessary to becoming a full member. Upon completion of the program, apprentice leagues will have the knowledge (and the recommendations) needed to apply for full WFTDA membership. In November, the WFTDA opened for worldwide membership and the London Rollergirls became the first league outside North America to join as apprentice members.
In June 2010, the WFTDA announced the first round of Apprentice league graduates, and the intention to form two new regions outside of the United States. (Leagues in those regions competed in the closest US region until they develop more fully.)
In March 2012, Bear City Roller Derby from Berlin, Germany became the WFTDA's first full member league in continental Europe. In June 2013 the Rock n Roller Queens of Bogota, Colombia became the first full member South American league. The Tokyo Roller Girls and Kokeshi Roller Dolls became the first full member leagues in Asia.
Each year a series of playoffs are held, based on the June 30 rankings. 40 teams compete in four Division 1 Playoff Tournaments, and the top 3 finishers from each tournament go on to the WFTDA Championship Tournament. The next 20 eligible teams compete in two Division 2 Playoff Tournaments, with the winners of each tournament meeting at the WFTDA Championship tournament, with the winner crowned the Division 2 champion.
WFTDA league divisions
In 2013 WFTDA changed ranking systems from a regional, poll-based format released quarterly to a system based on the competitive ranking of teams using game results. When the organization did so, WFTDA introduced competitive divisions and expanded the playoff tournament structure. After the November 30 rankings release of each year, each league is placed within a competitive division for the next 12 months based on their charter team's rank. The leagues remain in their division for 12 months, no matter what their rank is in subsequent rankings releases.
A league's division placement determines the game play minimums for their WFTDA charter team in the following year. A Division 1 team must play no less than four WFTDA Sanctioned games, with at least three of those games against other Division 1 opponents and the fourth against either a Division 1 or Division 2 opponent, before June 30 of the following year. A Division 2 team has to play a minimum of three WFTDA Sanctioned bouts, two against Division 1 or 2 opponents and the third against an opponent in any division. A Division 3 team must play a minimum of two WFTDA Sanctioned games against any opponents.
Division placement does not affect which playoffs a team qualifies for, only minimum game play requirements. If a Division 2 or 3 team moves up the rankings into the top 40 at the time of tournament seeding that team will be invited to Division 1 Playoffs. Similarly, a Division 1 team moving down the rankings will receive an invitation befitting the team's rank at the time of seeding.
Many roller derby leagues that are not WFTDA members use the WFTDA rules. These include all members of the Men's Roller Derby Association.
- Orange County Roller Girls - Orange County, CA (January 2008–March 2009)
- East Texas Bombers - Tyler, TX (November 2005-July 2009)
- Salt City Derby Girls - Salt Lake City, UT (March 2011)
- Rollergirls of Southern Indiana
- Choice City Rebels - Fort Collins, CO (March 2011 - December 2012)
At the conclusion of each year's competitive season (immediately following that year's WFTDA Championship) final rankings for the year are issued. The top 40 leagues are placed in Division 1, the next 20 in Division 2, and the remainder in Division 3.
- "A Short History of the Sport of Roller Derby". Sin City Rollergirls. Archived from the original on 2007-12-08. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
- Later histories recall the original name as United Leagues Committee.
- Parnavelas, Ellen (12 December 2012). The Roller Derby Athlete. Bloomsbury Sport. p. 24. ISBN 1408182602. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
- "North Carolina Secretary Of State". Retrieved 2008-03-01.
- "About WFTDA". Archived from the original on 2007-08-20. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
- Cohen, Alex; Barbee, Jennifer (13 July 2010). Down and Derby: The Insider's Guide to Roller Derby. Soft Skull Press. p. 62. ISBN 9781593762742. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
- "WFTDA Eastern Regional Roller Derby Tournament "Heartland Havoc" to be Broadcast by MavTV" (Press release). Women's Flat Track Derby Association. 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- "WFTDA joins USA Rollersports as a Class V national organization". 2007-09-19. Retrieved 2007-09-20.
- "WFTDA Referee Certification FAQ". Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- "Introducing…2009 WFTDA Regions" (PDF). WFTDA. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 2, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- "Rules Central - Women's Flat Track Derby Association". Wftda.com. Retrieved 2013-10-10.
- "WFTDA Competitive Divisions System", WFTDA
- "Understanding Gender". Gender Spectrum. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
- "WFTDA Broadens Protections for Athlete Gender Identity - LatestNews - Women's Flat Track Derby Association". wftda.org. WFTDA. 10 November 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
- McManus, Jane (12 November 2015). "Transgender Athletes Find Community, Support In Roller Derby". ESPN W. ESPN. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
- WFTDA press release: "Flat-Track Roller Derby Solidifies [sic] National Presence / Second Annual Flat Track Derby Conference meets in St. Paul, MN" (June 2006)
- "Multi-league per city clause". Women's Flat Track Derby Association. Archived from the original on 2006-06-20. Retrieved 2006-07-09.
- "WFTDA Member Leagues". Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- Chris "Hurt Reynolds" Seale (2007-08-22). "Tampa Bay newest WFTDA member". Archived from the original on 2007-09-02. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- "WFTDA opens membership to Canadian leagues". 2008-02-20. Retrieved 2008-02-20.
- "Women's Flat Track Derby Association - Members". Retrieved 2012-09-08.
- Chris "Hurt Reynolds" Seale (2009-01-22). "WFTDA makes a run for the border". Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- "WFTDA temporarily closes membership until July 1, 2009" (Press release). 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- "WFTDA Announces International Expansion - Latest News - Women's Flat Track Derby Association". Wftda.com. Retrieved 2013-10-10.
- "WFTDA adds 11 new members - Latest News - Women's Flat Track Derby Association". Wftda.com. 2010-06-25. Retrieved 2013-10-10.
- "WFTDA Welcomes 14 New Member Leagues - Latest News - Women's Flat Track Derby Association". Wftda.com. 2012-03-01. Archived from the original on 2016-05-18. Retrieved 2013-10-10.
- "WFTDA Welcomes First Full Member Leagues in Asia and South America - Latest News - Women's Flat Track Derby Association". Wftda.com. 2013-06-06. Retrieved 2013-10-10.
- "WFTDA to Introduce New Playoff Structure in 2013". WFTDA Official Site. October 16, 2012. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- "WFTDA Competitive Divisions System whitepaper" (PDF). WFTDA Official Site. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- "Members". WFTDA. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
- "OC Roller Girls Joins Women's Flat Track Derby Association". 2008-01-02. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- "Angel City squeezes OC Roller Girls 161-69". 2009-03-20. Archived from the original on March 27, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
OC Roller Girls resigned their WFTDA membership earlier this month. Founded in 2005 with 30 member leagues, WFTDA's membership has grown rapidly and now stands at 77 leagues. OCRG is the first league to resign membership.
- "WFTDA Releases Second-Quarter Rankings". 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
Notably, original WFTDA league East Texas joins OC Rollergirls this year as one of the only two teams to leave the organization after being accepted.
- "SCDG Goes Banked Track". 2011-03-08. Retrieved 2011-03-08.
- "Choice City Rebels". Flat Track Stats. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- WFTDA web site
- fiveonfive - Official Magazine of the WFTDA
- Blood and Thunder Magazine
- Derby News Network - Comprehensive WFTDA Bout Data and News
- Flat Track Stats - Statistical Aggregation of WFTDA Sanctioned Roller Derby