Next year’s island games in Guernsey have become the latest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
The International Island Games Association has announced the 2021 games scheduled for next July have been postponed.
It follows the IIGA’s virtual annual general meeting on Saturday afternoon.
Chairman Jorgen Pettersson said: “This decision was not made lightly and was based on the responses received from the recent survey undertaken with member islands, coupled with the best medical advice that could be obtained.
“First and foremost, in making the decision was the wellbeing of all the member island’s sports people and the impact that any importation of the virus into Guernsey would have on their island.
“We have waited for even the slightest possible opportunity to go on with the games in 2021, but we have to acknowledge the facts.
“The pandemic is not over, the quarantine regulations will continue to make
planning forward very very difficult and even impossible.
“Therefore, it would not be fair to ask the member islands or the host island to commit financially to an event next summer.
“This has been a difficult decision to accept for all of us. I am truly sorry for this decision.”
He added he was “convinced” the games would come back “as soon as possible”.
Chairwoman of the Guernsey 2021 organising committee Mary Perkins added the Organising committee had been contingency planning since March. Several meetings had been held with the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC) and communication had been kept open with the other member islands.
“In addition, we have used the World Health Organisation’s ‘Planning for large scale events’ guidance as a template for our decision-making process,” she said.
“In all of our planning, the health and safety of our athletes, volunteers, spectators, supporters and our Guernsey community have always been our priority, and will continue to be so.
“Whereas we know that this announcement comes as a huge disappointment, we would like to thank all our volunteers, sponsors and sports coordinators for their continued support.”
Games director Julia Bowditch added some information about why the decision to postpone has been made now.
“As part of our contingency planning, we have had a freeze on our spending since March,” she said.
“Whereas we were very advanced with our planning before the pandemic, there are now many other factors to be considered – as well as the obvious health and travel implications.”
Mr Pettersson stressed the decision amounted to a postponement and not a cancellation.
He said the executive committee would discuss the future games with Guernsey and Orkney, which is due to host the games in 2023, before before further decisions on dates are made.
“Whatever happens, our main focus is for all our member islands to stay healthy and well. We would like to stress the importance of the fact that we are not cancelling. We are adjusting the map in order to make it compliant with the current reality.”