Island Games organisers 'planning for all eventualities'

The organisers behind next year's Island Games in Guernsey are "planning for all eventualities" as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the games director.

As many as 3,500 team members from 23 islands were expected to take part when the event returns to Guernsey for a record third time in July 2021.

"It's really difficult", Julia Bowditch told ITV News, "it's reliant on the situation that's also happening in the 23 member islands".

"The geographical spread of the islands - we've got St Helena and Falklands, so they are having a different timing and reaction to the virus".

"We're okay at the moment, we're 14 months out and we're in the position we can watch other events and see what's happening with them, what safeguards they're putting in place", Bowditch said.

Guernsey 2021 games director Julia Bowditch says any decisions made about the Games will put public health first. Credit: ITV Channel TV

The organising committee are still meeting remotely every two weeks and are in regular contact with the International Island Games Association and member associations.

"We've got the opportunity to speak to member islands and look at how the situation is affecting them and their main concern is that their athletes can't train and that normally they'd be raising funds now so they could take part in the Games".

"We're still waiting - things are changing on a weekly basis, but we've got the plans in place and we know we're ready to host the Games, but it's just whether it's safe to do so".

The International IIGA's AGM, due to be held in Guernsey this July, has already been postponed.

That event would also have given member islands the chance to tour venues and accommodation, but the Guernsey 2021 organising committee says it will now distribute that information online.

"The global coronavirus pandemic has inevitably had an impact on major sporting events and no one can predict with certainty what the next few months will bring or what the situation will be in summer 2021", said Deputy Matt Fallaize, president of Guernsey's committee for education, sport and culture.

"We are all keeping our fingers crossed that in 14 months' time Guernsey will be hosting this fantastic week of sport for the first time in nearly 20 years".