Guernsey Press

2021 Island Games in Guernsey postponed

THE 2021 Island Games in Guernsey have been postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The 2021 Island Games have been postponed. Pictured is the opening ceremony from the 2003 Games in Guernsey. (28733125)

The decision was announced after the International Island Games Association held its virtual AGM. The Games were scheduled to be held in July 2021.

‘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,' said Jorgen Pettersson, chair of the IIGA.

'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.'

It would therefore not be fair to ask 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, but I also know the determination in our island communities, and I am convinced we will come back in friendly competition under the umbrella of NatWest International Island Games as soon as possible.'

As to what happens next, the IIGA chair said: ‘We have to continue our forward planning. You must remember that we are dealing with two confirmed host islands - Guernsey in 2021 and Orkney in 2023. The IIGA executive committee will discuss the future Games with Guernsey and Orkney and our member islands before we make a decision on the dates for the next Games.

'There will be many different aspects on this, and we want to make a full analysis including sports, economy, political support and, of course, the continued fight towards the pandemic.

'Whatever happens, our main focus is for all our member islands to stay healthy and well.'

He added: '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.'

Dame Mary Perkins, chair of the Guernsey 2021 organising committee, said it had been contingency planning since March, including using World Health Organisation guidance for large-scale events. In addition, the organisers had held several meetings with public health chiefs in Guernsey and communicated with other member islands as well as keeping the IIGA executive committee fully updated.

'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 co-ordinators for their continued support,' added Dame Mary.

Vice-President of Education, Sport and Culture, Deputy Richard Graham, attended the last Island Games held in Gibraltar in 2019.

‘The Gibraltar Games were a fantastic experience,' he said, ‘and we want the Games in Guernsey to be the best they possibly can, not only for the Bailiwick but also for the athletes and visitors from all of the other islands.

'We fully support the Guernsey 2021 organising committee - they have worked very hard so far and we know that they will continue to focus and develop their plans through these challenging times.'