2021 Netball World Youth Cup Cancelled
The Board of the International Netball Federation (INF) have announced that the 2021 Netball World Youth Cup has been cancelled due to concerns surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and athlete well-being.
The 21-and-under tournament, scheduled to take place in Suva, Fiji, had previously been postponed from June 2021 to December 2-11 and would have been the ninth event of its kind.
The INF, in consultation with the Fijian Government, the NWYC Organising Committee, and the twenty netball nations who had qualified to take part, identified significant Covid-19 related challenges surrounding the event.
INF President Liz Nicholl said that the difficult decision had been made following a comprehensive risk assessment initiative which found that the event could not be run in a safe and responsible manner.
“A comprehensive risk assessment was undertaken highlighting a number of challenges which included the impact of Covid-safe protocols on the welfare of youth athletes; the inability of teams to adequately plan and prepare together for an intense level of international competition, on-going border closures, travel restrictions including quarantine measures and costs, and the protection of Fiji, a nation which has seen low Covid-19 numbers as of March 2021.”
“Unfortunately, the risks identified were too high to proceed with the event as planned in a responsible and safe manner, and therefore the Board had no alternative but to conclude that the event should be cancelled.”
Netball Australia Executive General Manager of Performance Stacey West said that, while it is disappointing for the tournament to be cancelled, Netball Australia fully supports the INF’s decision and that plans are in place to create a high-performance substitute for the athletes.
“We’re disappointed that this valuable event will not take place this year. The Netball World Youth Cup is a vital part of the high-performance cycle and crucial to the development of the next generation of great netballers.”
“However, we completely support the decision made by the INF and believe it to be the best outcome for everyone involved in the event.”
“Given this news, Netball Australia will now work with Head Coach Kylee Byrne to provide our athletes with a high-performance opportunity that will help support their on-going progression through the pathway and towards becoming Origin Australian Diamonds.”
The INF have provided a Q&A document containing full details on how and why this decision was made as well as who was involved in the decision-making process, which you can find here.