The World Handball Council has taken the decision to cancel the 2021 World Handball Championships due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament, due to be held later this year, becomes yet another sporting event to fall to the worsening Covid-19 situation across the world.
Handball’s flagship tournament was in line to return to Ireland for the first time since 2012, but the World Handball Council have made the decision to not go ahead with the championships.
In a brief statement, Dr Raquel Barnes, President of the World Handball Council, confirmed that it was not feasible to hold the tournament in any capacity in 2021.
“Due to the unforeseeable events that are occurring globally as it pertains to the Novel Coronavirus, it is with regret that I inform you of the cancellation of this year’s World Handball Championships, I will keep you abreast of any developments as they become available,” said Dr Barnes.
The news will come as no great surprise to people involved in the sport, with GAA Handball President Dessie Keegan telling KCLR’s Saturday Scoreline last month that he did not see how the competition could be held this year. Keegan questioned the morality of allowing people from other countries to enter Ireland for the tournament under the current circumstances.
“We couldn’t in good conscience have people from the U.S.A. and other countries coming into Ireland without knowing if it is safe,” said Keegan.
The World Handball Championships are held every three years across Ireland, the U.S. and Canada. Cork’s Killian Carroll won the senior men’s world title in 2018, while Limerick’s Martina McMahon is the reigning senior women’s world champion.
Ireland have not hosted the competition since 2012 when hundreds of players from across the world flocked on Citywest, Dublin for the championships.
The World Handball Council did not give a rearranged date for the competition.