The European Championships 2021 will not be held in Sweden as planned. The Swedish Karate Federation have on 6th of November realeased the following statement:
European Championship dream destroyed in the wake of the Corona crisis.
It´s with a heavy heart that the Swedish Karate Federation today, the 6th of November, announces its withdrawal as host for the 56th Senior European Championships in Karate. The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic situation is the reason for the decision.
The last and only time that a European Championship in Karate took place in Sweden was 1982. The board have, since forming the federation in 2009, worked to again aquire a new international championship to be hosted in Sweden. The dream came true in 2018 when the 56th Senior European Championships was awarded to be held in Gotheburg in May 2021. Now the dream is destroyed following effects of the current pandemic.
”The Corona crisis has put us in a very difficult situation. Beacuse of that we have during the last months worked through a risk assessment together with our partners in Gothenburg and other authorities. The conclusion was that we would try and push forward until January 2021, with the hope that things might have changed for the better by then. We have re-negotiated all our contracts according to this deadline, and our staff have continuously been on stand by for quick changes.
Unfortunately the European Karate Federation (EKF) has now asked for a guarantee from us already in early November, wether we can go through with the championship or not. That is an impossible question to answer realistically at the moment, due to different restrictions and the development of the virus, where we also now see the that the number of infected are rapidly increasing in Sweden as well as in rest of Europe.” says Urban Andersson, president of the Swedish Karate Federation.
”If we were to make the decision this early, committing to pushing through the event in May 2021, it puts us in a position where we need to be able to cover the risk of a major economic loss, with a possible bankruptcy for the Federation. Regardless how much we would like to host the championship, that is not an option. Our personnel resources are also impacted by the corona crisis which leads to difficulties going forward. Our primary task in Sweden, as issued by the government, is to promote public health through our sport and provide a positive environment for children and young people. That is a foundation we cannot put at risk. We also need to accept our responsibility in this pandemic and not risk contributing to disarray that might put an extra strain on the Covid-19 situation in our community.”
”Our hosting of the Championship was meant to be an event to strengthen and unite the Swedish karate community and to invite Europe to see the best of us as an organizing country. It has now transformed to a risk of enormous proportions that is the opposite of what our goal of this project was. No one could of course foresee the breakout of a pandemic and it would be tremendously reckless of us to continue this path with the terms we now have been given.”
The Swedish Karate Federation regrets but respects that EKF wants to get a decision regarding the ability of hosting of the European Championship as early as in November. The reason being that EKF need to have enough time to find alternatives, especially in light of the qualification process leading up to the Olympic games in Tokyo where the European Championships are included.
”We don´t look at this as wasted time or resources, instead it has been a valuable learning process. We are now fully equipped to be a proffessional organizer and we will keep working to receive other opportunities to prove ourselves.” Urban Andersson concludes. ”Our hope for the immediate future however, is that the pandemic soon will retreat, and that the world will become a safer and more normal place again.”
Göteborg & Co, who has been the main partner for the event states; ”We think it´s very unfortunate that the European Championships in Karate won´t be organized in Gothenburg 2021. The pandemic simply makes the situation to uncertain, but we hope to find new collaborations with the Swedish Karate Federation in the future”, says Director City of Events Magnus Hallberg.
The Senior European Championships in Karate consists of 54 nations, approx. 1500 participants and 16 categories, plus parakarate, for both women and men.
To be noted: The European Championships 2021 may yet take place in a different setting, more information will follow from the EKF regarding next years championship.