ULU vs. LUSL

What’s the difference? Why the change? UCLU Sports Officer, Eleanor Trezise, provides the low-down on why many of UCL’s sports teams have given their ULU leagues the boot.


If you were unfamiliar with UCL sport before the start of this year, you may never have heard of the University of London Union (ULU) leagues. ULU, known to most for its cheap drinks and real student food, also organises league and knock-out competitions between University of London teams for various sports including hockey, cricket and waterpolo.

However, in time for the new academic year, many UCLU sports teams, along with other student unions across London, have made the decision to jump ship from ULU to the LUSL (London University Sports Leagues), which is BUCS’s (British Universities & Colleges Sport) new and improved alternative.

So what’s wrong with ULU? Poorly organised on the admin side, their fixtures were regularly released late, enquiries poorly dealt with and their management of referees headache-inducing. As Captain of a UCLU sports team last year, I can testify that ULU’s unsatisfyingly slow responses to my emails were often frustrating and serve as a stark contrast to BUCS’s swift communication.

BUCS London Regional, a committee made up of representatives from student unions across London were reported to be “dissatisfied with fixtures in the London area… predominantly arranged by ULU” and subsequently BUCS were approached to help with the problem. Thus, LUSL was born.

Some of its preliminary aims were to improve the number of students participating in sport by allowing teams to be entered both at the beginning of the first term as well as at the start of the second term in January. They are also allowing the participation of non-ULU-affiliated universities and FE colleges as well as potentially creating competitions for sports which ULU does not cater for, such as Ultimate Frisbee – a popular UCLU team.

The first LUSL fixtures were played this week. Time will tell if LUSL will shape up to be the better alternative that team captains, presidents and UCLU admin staff hoped for. In the meantime, best of luck to all UCLU teams in the new leagues.