The world netball governing body, International Netball Federation has finally cancelled the Youth World Cup which was scheduled to take place from 2-11th December in Suva, Fiji, due to concerns surrounding Covid-19 Pandemic.
The U-21 tournament which features 20 nations from the International Netball Federation regions of Americas, Africa, Europe and Oceania was originally planned for June 2021 before revised dates of December, which were also given key date for assessing tournament feasibility, which date has produced the unfortunate decision of cancellation
Africa was to be represented by Uganda, South Africa and Malawi who qualified through regional rankings after the cancelation of the qualifier tournament which was scheduled to take place in July 2019.
The 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 on-going Covid-19 pandemic with the safety and wellbeing of participants and the Fijian population .
According to INF Organising Committee and the twenty netball nations who had qualified to take part, identified significant Covid-19 related challenges surrounding the event and comprehensive risk assessment was undertaken, highlighting a number of challenges including welfare of youth athletes, that is; the inability of teams to adequately plan and prepare together for an intense level of international competition, on-going 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.
INF President, Liz Nicholl CBE, said; “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. 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” .
New Zealand is the defending Champion in the last tournament held in 2017, Gaborone Botswanan after beating Australia 60-57, where Uganda finished 7th.