Lucerne 2021 canceled over Omicron threat


Lucerne Winter Universiade cancelled Image: FISU

The International University Sports Association (FISU) and the Organising Committee of Lucerne 2021 announced on November 29th that the 30th Winter Universiade, which was to open on December 11th, 2021 in Lucerne (Switzerland), will not be taking place now.

The ‘EUSA’ stated that in the light of highly dynamic developments in the pandemic and related incoming travel restrictions, it will now not be possible to hold the largest multisport event for student-athletes.

Lausanne (Switzerland)-headquartered the Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) is responsible for the organisation and governance of worldwide sports competitions for student-athletes between the ages of 17 and 25.

The 2021 Winter Universiade, officially the XXX Winter Universiade, and commonly known as Lucerne 2021, was a multisport event for student and youth athletes that was scheduled to take place from December 11th to December 21st, 2021 in Lucerne, Switzerland, with preliminary competition in some events all set to have begun from December 6th, 2021. The whole event has been canceled with the virus variant casting its long shadow on the same.

The ‘EUSA’ further stated that restrictions on international arrivals have been announced by Swiss authorities with regard to a number of countries where the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been identified, and more restrictions are expected in the coming days. Similar restrictions are also being announced by national authorities elsewhere, and the first case involving the Omicron variant has already been identified in Switzerland.

Said FISU Acting President Leonz Eder, “In the face of travel restrictions being imposed in Switzerland and all around the world, we have had no other choice but to cancel the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade. This decision was made with a very heavy heart. So many of my fellow Swiss University sports colleagues had already given so much, for so long to this event. But, the new travel restrictions mean that staging the event has now been made impossible. On behalf of FISU, I would like to offer our solidarity and sincere gratitude to the Organizing Committee of Lucerne 2021 and all the partners who have been working so hard to provide a magical Alpine moment. FISU is also deeply saddened for the delegations from the National University Sports Federations from all around the world who had been looking forward to Lucerne 2021.”

Stated the Organizing Committee President Guido Graf, “We are devastated and very sorry that we will not be able to welcome athletes from all over the world who have been preparing intensively for their competitions.”

Remarked Mike Kurt, President of Swiss University Sports, “We are incredibly sad that we will not be able to hold this great event and would like to thank everyone who has worked and invested so much over the past years. We are convinced that Lucerne 2021 will leave a long-term legacy for Swiss sport despite the cancellation. For example, almost 50 legacy projects were launched or implemented around the Winter Universiade in areas such as strengthening dual careers, sports infrastructure, sports development or innovation in Swiss sport.”

Lucerne 2021 had initially been scheduled for the beginning of 2021, but was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. With the next winter edition of the FISU World University Games scheduled for Lake Placid in 2023, further postponement is not possible.

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