All WFDF World Championship Events in 2021 are Canceled or Postponed
The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) today announced that it will not host any World Championship Flying Disc Events in 2021, effectively canceling the World Under-24 Ultimate Championships (WU24) and the World Ultimate and Guts Championships (WUGC) both planned to be held in Europe in July this summer, and postponing other planned events.
The WFDF COVID-19 Working Group and the WFDF Board of Directors have been following the global development of the pandemic closely over the past year. WFDF is primarily concerned about the health and safety of athletes, volunteers, and others involved in planning and holding events. It has reviewed the guidance from various governmental authorities and the World Health Organization regarding the various lockdown measures, and the predicted relaxation of restrictions on public gatherings.
After careful consideration of the situation, WFDF has concluded that it is simply not feasible to plan cross-border events through 2021, due to varying regulations and restrictions. There can be no certainty as to the ability of athletes to travel and compete safely in various events in 2021.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present incredible challenges for the planning of international sporting events and especially for large championship events bringing athletes from countries across the globe,” said WFDF President Robert “Nob” Rauch. “While the development of several safe and effective vaccines is good news, the limited availability and slower than expected distribution plan guidance by governmental authorities suggests that a return to whatever our “new normal” will be on a global basis is not going to occur until late this year. After taking into consideration all of the data available to us, in consultation with our event organizers, our review of WHO and other international guidelines, the status of the distribution of a vaccine, and the advice of our medical team, WFDF has concluded that it will not be possible to run large-scale events in 2021 in a way that protects the health and safety of all participants, and it is not even clear that travel and other governmental restrictions will be lifted until late in the year.”
“Although large cross-border championship events will be slowest to return, we are hopeful on behalf of our national federations that local and national level competition can resume within the next six months. While athletes have been able to continue to participate in individual disciplines like disc golf, which grew exponentially this last year, we expect a gradual phase-in of team and large event activity, starting with personal training, socially distanced team practices, smaller local events, to full blown competitive events and tournaments.”
Both host countries for the Ultimate events, Ireland (WU24) and the Netherlands (WUGC) are currently under strict lockdowns with schools, bars, restaurants and non-essential shops closed and a restriction on the number of people allowed to gather, heavily impacting organized group sports. Sports events are not allowed at this time except in limited and highly restrictive circumstances and there are no certainties as to when these restrictions will be lifted.
At this time, WFDF has made the decision to postpone the 2021 World Beach Ultimate Championships, scheduled to take place in the fourth quarter of 2021, to at least the second quarter of 2022, providing the teams and organizers extra time to select teams, and prepare for the event, and allowing continued vaccinations and the expected end of the pandemic. More information on the World Beach Ultimate Championships will be forthcoming.
The World Overall Flying Disc Championships (WOC) to be held in the USA will not take place in 2021. WFDF Chair of the Overall Committee Rob McLeod has confirmed WOC will be postponed until 2022.
The WFDF Disc Golf Committee Chair, Charlie Mead, has confirmed that the bid process for finding hosts for WFDF’s regional 2021 Team Disc Golf events will continue as planned, capitalising on safe and permitted travel between some regions where travel bubbles have been set up. “Once bid proposals are received on the 23rd January, WFDF will evaluate the hygiene concepts put forward by the bid candidates and will only proceed with regional events if safe and responsible to do so.”
Brain Gisel, WFDF Vice President and Ultimate Chair, reminds member federations that the three WFDF 2021 Continental Ultimate Championships for the PanAmerican (PAUC), African (AAUC), and Asian-Oceanic (AOUGC) regions were previously canceled, as announced in the 26 May 2020 press release.
WFDF will announce today in a separate press release the tentative WFDF 2022 Event Schedule.