New dates for postponed Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade to be considered by October

After the International University Sports Federation (FISU) announced the

postponement of the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade – originally scheduled for

January 2021 – FISU Secretary General-CEO Eric Saintrond says the new dates should

be agreed upon within the next two months.

Q1. Let’s start with the decision itself. The decision to postpone the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade was

obviously a really difficult one. How was it taken, who all were involved?

ES: Yes, it was not an easy decision. All the partners of the FISU World University Games were involved in the

decision process. The Organising Committee held meetings with the Swiss Confederation and Canton

representatives, Swiss University Sports, Swiss Olympic, and of course with us, at FISU. The discussion started two

months ago, and we agreed on a timeline for the different steps before announcing the decision to not hold the

games in January 2021 and evaluate a postponement.

Q2. To what extent were the International Federations of winter sports and National University Sports Federations

consulted or involved in this decision? Was there any resistance to postponement?

ES: Due to the pandemic, most of the International Federations had to cancel their events for safety reasons. We

have spoken to the IFs as well as our member federations. The potential alternate dates have to be carefully

analysed and discussed with all parties. It is not easy. Next year does not offer many options, as we are now talking

about the end of 2021. Regarding 2022, it is the year of the Winter Olympics and the International Federations

will be committed to their preparations for the Olympic Games. The cancellation of sports events has affected all

IFs worldwide. Therefore, we have to manage this as well as possible.

Q3. So now that the decision has been taken, what are the next steps? What are you working on?

ES: We already have a team working on the evaluation of the potential postponement. We will involve all partners

- including our media partners like Eurosport, to make sure we have the best proposal for both Lucerne and FISU.

Q4. How did FISU deal with the repeated cancellations of FISU events in 2020? What is the financial fallout of a

major decision such as this?

ES: Postponing our events, and especially one of our flagship events, by several months or a year also means

keeping staff and services running for an extended period, which is an additional cost. The plan for the

accommodation has to be reviewed and new formats may bring other expenses as well.

The postponement of the World University Games will create additional expenses and obligations for the

Organising Committee as the Business Plan and Master Plan have to be reviewed. Regarding FISU, we will have to

re-start the process of registrations which was already closed for the team sports.

Q5. How closely did you work with the Swiss federal authorities and the six Cantons on all developments?

ES: Leonz Eder, Coordinator of Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade and FISU First Vice-President, was present in all

meetings organised with the Swiss Federal authorities and worked closely with them throughout.

Q6. For the athletes, how will this postponement impact them, in terms of selection and preparation?

ES: As we have eligibility rules in FISU, an athlete might not be accepted one year later because of the age limit or

their student status. Moreover, if they are part of an Olympic team, they might not be available to take part in our


Q7. How does this affect your sponsors and partners, such as the Host Broadcaster signed for the event?

ES: Sponsors have already delivered the Value-In-Kind and we will have to store them for a couple of months. Our

partners (sponsors and broadcasters) will adapt to the new schedule. FISU does not receive any revenues from

broadcasting rights, which means that we are not dependent on broadcasting rights like some other federations

might be.

Q8. What is the deadline to decide on a new date? And when is the likely period for the postponed event?

ES: We believe that the deadline to decide on a new date cannot be later than 31 October 2020. Regarding the

postponement period, this has to be carefully analysed and discussed with all parties, it is too early to give a reply


Q9. What has happened in the past when the Winter Universiade has had to be cancelled or rescheduled?

ES: We did have some issues in the past. For example, in Granada (2015) they could not get the permission to

build the Nordic Ski venues, so we had to move Nordic Skiing and Biathlon competitions to Slovakia. In the end,

we had a long Universiade that lasted several days longer than usual. In 2013, we had to cancel the Winter

Universiade in Maribor and organise the event in Trentino instead, which eventually turned out to be a great


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