INF announce cancellation of Youth World Cup
The International Netball Federation (INF) has announced its decision to cancel the Netball World Youth Cup 2021 (NWYC) which was scheduled to take place from 2-11th December in Suva, Fiji.
This difficult decision was made by the INF Board at their meeting on March 12th after taking into consideration all the risks related to hosting the event during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic with the safety and wellbeing of participants and the Fijian population at the heart of the decision.
INF, in consultation with the Fijian Government, the NWYC Organising Committee (OC), and the 20 netball nations who had qualified to take part, identified significant Covid-19 related challenges surrounding the event.
A comprehensive risk assessment was undertaken, highlighting a number of challenges including welfare of youth athletes; the inability of teams to adequately plan and prepare together for an intense level of international competition, ongoing 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.
Netball New Zealand CEO Jennie Wyllie said it was a tough decision but one that is understandable given the current global climate.
“This was a very tough decision for INF to make, but one that is ultimately the right one to ensure the safety of all players and management, as well as the population of Fiji,” she said.
“We know our New Zealand Under 21 squad are hugely disappointed that they won’t have the opportunity to compete at their pinnacle age group event and we will continue to support them.”
The New Zealand Under 21 team are defending Netball World Youth Cup champions, and will now get their next opportunity to defend the title in 2025.
INF President Liz Nicholl CBE said the decision was made with a heavy heart.
“It is with a heavy heart that we make this decision to cancel the Netball World Youth Cup 2021. Our U21 athletes represent the emerging talent at an international level, and we recognise this announcement will be a significant disappointment for them, for our Members, our fans and indeed for all the netball family,” Nicholl said.
“We thank the organising committee for their considerable efforts thus far in planning for the event and for the ongoing support of the Fijian Government in relation to hosting.”
The NWYC is the pinnacle of netball competition for emerging players under 21 years of age with INF hosting an U21 International competition every four years since 1988. INF announced on the 8th of February 2017 that Netball Fiji had won the rights to host the second staging of the Netball World Youth Cup.
In July 2020 INF announced that due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the NWYC would be postponed from June to December 2021.