COVID delays Youth World Cup again

March 31, 2021 @ 9:00 UTC

Due to ongoing uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, FIT & England TA are again delaying the Youth Touch World Cup (YTWC).

In the nine months since it was jointly announced to delay the 2021 event, we have continued to closely monitor the responses to managing the virus's spread worldwide.

While several vaccine programmes are underway, there are multiple unknowns for a global event such as YTWC.

Vaccinations will significantly reduce participant and spectators risk, while health and safety remain our primary concern. Unfortunately, too many additional risk factors remain.

Significant questions about international travel remain. Gary Reynolds, FIT Event Director said, “For example, we can’t be sure what arrangements might exist in 15 months. Many countries have mandatory quarantine periods of up to 2 weeks for visitors and returning citizens. Meanwhile, the rollout of vaccines is variable across the globe.

“We also recognise that as a youth event, parents will fund participant attendance and these expenses could be considerable given a desire for extended family to attend. Over the last 12 months, many have been adversely affected by economic downturns and increased unemployment, which makes attending a youth world cup a more challenging proposition.”

Gary continued, “The last thing we wish to do is schedule the event with uncertainty hanging over it. Moreover, the uncertainty about attendees puts at risk the considerable up-front expenses needed to secure bookings and prepare teams. These are factors outside of our control.

“Given the information available now, we have regretfully decided there is insufficient data available for members to commit to this event. Fifteen months is the absolute minimum required to prepare for an event of this magnitude. This includes a six-month period for entries and a reduced nine-month preparation window for the host nation.”

Ben Powell, England TA High-Performance Director added, “We are obviously disappointed that the Youth Touch World Cup won’t be taking place in 2022, but we understand the reasons why and it is right to make an early call on the decision.

“Despite us coming out of lockdown here in the UK, there is still a long way to go to get back to playing in global tournaments. With many clubs and leagues returning to play here in England this week, we’re hopeful that we can get back to playing nationally and internationally this year.

“We expect to be able to announce further plans for our junior HP programme in the next few weeks.”

FIT will continue to monitor COVID developments and will consider all options available to us to enable us to reschedule this event.

The resumption of global events is expected to follow a return of regional competition. In the meantime, members are encouraged to consider bilateral series, similar to the recently announced Autumn International Series in the United Kingdom or the well-established Trans Tasman Test Series, where risks can be managed locally.

Members who wish to plan a Tier 3 event should contact FIT. If you have any additional queries about the YTWC or global events in general, contact Gary Reynolds, Event Director, FIT on events@internationaltouch.org.