Coronavirus: Gothia Cup organisers say there is no need for 'radical decisions' over this summer's tournament
Event planners for the world's largest youth football tournament say they will not make a decision on whether it will go ahead until June
Organisers of the world’s largest youth football tournament, Sweden’s Gothia Cup, say they will not take a final decision on whether this year’s competition will go ahead until June, even though it is due to kick off on July 13.
In a message to all participating teams, Gothia Cup organisers said they have a “deep understanding” of the coronavirus pandemic but will not make any “radical decisions” about whether this year's tournament goes ahead.
Every summer around 1,700 youth football teams from more than 80 countries travel to Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city, to compete in the tournament. Last year, 13 teams from the UAE took part.
More than 450,000 Covid-19 cases have so far been identified worldwide in 198 countries.
Many parts of the world are also living under restriction of movement orders, while international airlines have grounded planes in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus, further complicating the picture for registered teams.
In Sweden, more than 2,500 cases have been confirmed.
Gothia’s organisers say that there is no need for an instant decision on whether the event should be postponed or cancelled despite the fact that most of the elite level sports competitions scheduled for this summer have already been postponed, including the Tokyo Olympics and football’s Euro 2020. Gothia said it had “different lead times” to the International Olympic Committee.
“Gothia Cup can wait with the final decision for two more months, until the beginning of June,” the message said.
“Nevertheless, we have a deep respect for the fact that some of our foreign teams don’t have the possibility to wait until then, before making their decision.”
The tournament organisers say that youth teams can cancel their registration and have their participation fees refunded at any time before June 10, but with a final decision on whether this year’s competition now not expected until around the same time, a mid-summer scramble for clarity now looks likely.
Registration fees per team cost between $300 and $500 (Dh1,800), excluding travel and accommodation costs. Many visiting teams stay in Gothenburg's schools, which are converted into temporary accommodation for the duration of the tournament.
Updated: March 26, 2020 12:36 PM