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Video: 2021 Island Games in Guernsey postponed

Next year’s International Island Games in Guernsey has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chairman of the International Island Games Association (IIGA), Jorgen Pettersson, made the announcement after the association’s AGM this afternoon.

He said the decision was not taken lightly but current regulations and the fact that the pandemic is far from over make hosting a multi-sport Games event attended by over 2,000 people near impossible.

Mr Pettersson said: “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 for where that leaves Orkney’s hosting of the 2023 Games, Mr Pettersson said further discussion will be undertaken to plot a path forward before any decision is made.

“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.

“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.”

Chairman of the Orkney 2023 Games committee, Gordon Deans, said: “Today’s announcement is of course disappointing for all concerned — both in terms of our colleagues on the Guernsey 2021 organising committee who have worked so hard on their plans for 2021, but also for our Orkney athletes and sportspeople who would have been competing next year.

“However, the announcement is not surprising given the impacts being felt worldwide from the COVID-19 pandemic and we know that the decision has been taken for good and sound reasons.

“What impact this will have on our staging of the Games here in Orkney in 2023 is not yet known, with a period of consultation now due to take place with the island member groups to ascertain the preferred way forward.

“Meantime we’ll continue on with our plans for bringing this much-loved event to Orkney as and when we can.”