Guernsey 2021 Island Games postponed because of coronavirus

Guernsey was due to host the Games for a record third time next year, having previously staged them in 1987 and 2003. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Next year's Island Games in Guernsey have been postponed because of coronavirus, the International Island Games Association has confirmed.

The event, which was due to be held between 3-9 July 2021, has not been cancelled altogether but a decision is yet to be made on when it will now take place.

The IIGA said it will work with the organisers of Guernsey 2021 and Orkney 2023, the next hosts, to find a new date.

We are dealing with two confirmed host islands - Guernsey and Orkney. In order to get it right, we are not ready at this time to confirm the date or year for the next Games. As an executive committee, we will discuss the future Games with Guernsey, Orkney, and our member islands, before we make a decision.

Jorgen Pettersson, Chairman, IIGA

The IIGA announced the news to representatives from all 23 member islands during its AGM, held remotely on Saturday.

  • Watch: Guernsey hosted the Island Games for the second time in 2003...

Initial estimates suggested more than 3,000 athletes and officials were preparing to come to Guernsey next year with the island set to host the Games for a record third time.

Local organisers said they had been planning for all eventualities since the outbreak of Covid-19, which has left the international sporting calendar in tatters this year.

In all of our planning, the health and safety of our athletes, volunteers, spectators, supporters and our Guernsey community have always been our priority, and will continue to be so. Whereas we know that this announcement comes as a huge disappointment, we would like to thank all our volunteers, sponsors and sports coordinators for their continued support.

Dame Mary Perkins, Chair, Guernsey 2021 Organising Committee

The chair of the organising committee for the 2023 edition in Orkney said they will continue with plans to welcome the Games "as and when we can".

Orkney - with a population of around 22,000 - will be the smallest host island to put on the Island Games since Shetland in 2005.

Today's announcement is of course disappointing for all concerned, however it is not surprising given the impacts felt worldwide from the Covid-19 pandemic. What impact this will have on our staging of the Games here in Orkney in 2023 is not yet known, with a period of consultation now due to take place with the island member groups to ascertain the preferred way forward.

Gordon Deans, Chair, Orkney 2023 Games Committee