(ATR) The 2021 Winter Universiade scheduled to be held in and around Lucerne, Switzerland in January has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The International University Sports Federation (FISU) announced the decision on Monday, saying it would work with the Organizing Committee, Swiss University Sports as well as international winter sports federations over the next two months on a potential new date for the event.
FISU said in a statement that another decisive factor in the decision was the present restrictions for entry into Switzerland. Currently, more than 40 percent of the registered participants are affected by the entry ban into Switzerland, including delegations from the USA, Russia, China and Kazakhstan.
"The Winter Universiade is a world sports event. In addition to the sporting competition, the exchange between the delegations is enormously important to us as an element that brings people together," said FISU President Oleg Matytsin in a statement.
"The entry restrictions as well as the implementation of the precautionary measures would have made this exchange impossible," he explained. "We are deeply sorry for this decision, but we are convinced that it is the only right decision in the current situation."
The Winter Universiade, or FISU World University Games, is the largest winter multisport event after the Winter Olympics. Lucerne 2021 was supposed to be held from January 21 to 31 in central Switzerland and Lenzerheide.
A total of 2500 individuals from more than 540 universities in 50 countries are to take part in 10 sporting disciplines contested at seven competition venues.
"After more than four years of preparation it is a painful decision, but in the end an easy one. The health of all the participants has always been the top priority in our evaluations," said Guido Graf, President of the Organizing Committee and Cantonal Councillor of Lucerne.
The Summer Universiade is still on schedule for Chengdu, China in August of 2021.
Written by Gerard Farek
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