Orkney’s concern ahead of big Island Games decision

ORKNEY would be ‘disappointed’ to see their crack at staging the biennial Island Games pushed back from 2023.

IIGA loyalists Orkney. (28712711)
IIGA loyalists Orkney. (28712711)

Being asked to defer to 2027 would be a ‘kick in the teeth’.

That is the view of the The Orcadian sports editor Mark Harkus ahead of this Saturday’s big International Island Games Association decision as to whether to push on with, postpone or cancel the scheduled 2021 Games in Guernsey.

Although the Guernsey organising committee have officially not given any indication as to whether the event will be given the green light or not, the current pandemic situation strengthens the sense of inevitability that we can forget about holding the Games a third time next summer.

The popular question seems if not in 2021, when? A one-year delay, 2023 perhaps?

Both a one-year postponement and Guernsey taking over 2023 would have implications for Orkney, who have everything in place to have their moment in the IIGA spotlight having been part of the family since the start in 1985.

Harkus admits it will be a tough decision to make.

‘I think it would be difficult [for us] if Guernsey switched to 2022 and people will have to find funding for two Games in the space of 12 months,’ said Harkus.

Meanwhile, the prospect of Guernsey being asked to stand aside if they cannot stage the Games in 2021 is a very remote one. A postponement rather than a cancellation is the most likely call.

But with Anglesey [Ynys Mon] lined up to stage the 40th anniversary Games in 2025, the decision becomes potentially more complicated given Orkney’s keenness to hold the event.

Harkus said Orcadians would not be happy if they had to wait until 2027 to stage the Games.

‘If it were pushed back to 2027 it would be a kick in the teeth. If we could find a mutually agreeable year people [here] would say it is one of those things within a global pandemic.’

It is now two years since Orkney were confirmed as the 2023 NatWest Island Games host island.

Orkney has competed in every edition of the biennial competition since its inception in 1985.

The county, who like us have had a largely clear Covid-19 bill of health for a long period but are under firm control by Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish government, was the only island in the running to host the 2023 event and gained a seal of approval from the IIGA executive committee following an inspection visit in November 2017.

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