Dear friends of Barents Games.
We have today made the difficult decision to postpone the Barents Summer Games in Tromsø 2021. It is not an easy decision, but we have based the decision on several arguments.
We have had meetings with health authorities and other partners who have given their recommendations and advice about the event.
A lot of work is put into a Barents Games, both locally where it will be held, and in all four countries. The work that is done is formidable and time consuming.
We have worked hard and purposefully towards the Barents Summer Games in Tromsø 3-5 September 2021, regardless of the covid-19 situation that has affected us all. Hotels have been booked, the clubs are ready to arrange and the municipality and the business community are extremely positive about the event. It is important for both us and them that we are out in good time when we see that it will not be possible to arrange such a large international event this year, with so many sports. It gives all partners the predictability that is so important in these times.
At a time when all four countries have challenges both in retaining athletes and in being able to practice the sports we love, it will be important that all resources use their energy at work locally.
The decision is based on a joint board in BSC, who does not see that it is possible to arrange Barents Games this year.
In all four countries, there are quarantine rules for travel, both in and out of the countries. The rules will depend on the vaccine roll-out in the respective countries and may change. It will require an enormous effort from each sport to be able to document both the vaccine and comply with the vaccine requirements to be able to travel this year as well. In Norway, for example, there are now rules on 14-day quarantine for coming to Norway from other vulnerable countries.
Local outbreaks will create new local restrictions, and the high rate of change in virus development makes the planning of large events highly unpredictable. The same applies to team selection and the work done locally in the four countries. This means that we see the need for a full vaccine coverage in all four countries before major events in sports can be arranged at an international level.
In some countries, there are restrictions for athletes over the age of 20, which means that many of our athletes today cannot train or compete. We believe that the sports will need some time as soon as the situation is under control, to work their way back to a more normalized everyday life.
To have a certain kind of predictability in the work that is done, we think it is right to decide to postpone BSG21 now. It is highly uncertain what the situation will be like in September 2021, but the authorities in our countries are insinuating that 2021 also will be affected by the covid-19 pandemic. Postponing BSG21 gives us the opportunity to reverse agreements and it gives us the opportunity to move the event to a new date.
In March 2022, the Barents Winter Games are planned in Alta, an event that is well under way in the planning. We have full confidence that this event will be possible to carry out, and we want to direct our full work effort towards Alta and the fantastic local environment there. We are really looking forward to showing the entire Barents region the fantastic facilities in Alta.
We ask for some time to come back to when the Barents Summer Games will be held in Tromsø, and we will keep you updated.