2021 Special Olympics GB National Summer Games Postponed

It is with regret, we announce the 2021 Special Olympics GB National Summer Games, scheduled to take place in Liverpool next August 2021, are to be postponed.

The difficult decision was made by the 2021 National Summer Games Board after careful consideration of the ever-changing Covid-19 situation and in full consultation with a wide range of key stakeholders including the Special Olympics GB Board, staff, Athlete Leadership Team, home- country representatives and the local organising committee.

It was agreed by all, that given the heightened risk to the athletes with intellectual disabilities, who are some of the most vulnerable people in our society, the uncertainty surrounding the impact of Covid-19, postponement is the right decision to protect our athletes and the integrity of the Games. There have been additional fundraising challenges as Covid-19 has impacted the whole of society and in particular charity fundraising. The unknowns about the true impact of Covid-19 on the economy means that corporate and community fundraising will become even more challenging, especially for the Special Olympics GB network of clubs and volunteers.

We understand this is disappointing news for everyone involved, however the welfare of the athletes and volunteers continues to be our top priority and we must protect the health and well-being of all those involved in preparing for and hosting a major event.

Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Chair of the 2021 National Summer Games Board said: “While this has been a difficult decision to make, we believe it is in the best interests of everyone connected with the Games that it is postponed from August 2021. We know this will be disappointing and appreciate that many people were looking forward to this sporting showcase taking place in our city next year. We will now work with organisers and stakeholders across the city to gain an understanding of any future potential dates we could stage this inspirational multi-sport tournament.”

Paul Richardson, Chairman of Special Olympics GB Board of Trustees said: “The National Summer Games are an absolute highlight for our athletes, volunteers, coaches, families and corporate partners. We are very sorry it has had to be postponed. However, to run a National Games in August 2021 would not be in the best interest of the health and well-being of our athletes – who are our priority. On behalf of Special Olympics GB, huge thanks to everyone involved for their efforts to date especially Liverpool City Council and the National Summer Games Board. The dedication, support and hard work they have already invested in hosting the biggest and best National Summer Games to date in GB are very much appreciated.”

Liverpool’s Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “It’s another blow to Liverpool events calendar that Special Olympics GB has had to be postponed in 2021.

“I’d like to send my best wishes to those athletes who were planning to take part, and I hope we can give you a warm Liverpool welcome at some point in the future.”

Work is currently underway to review alternative options for the rescheduling of the event with a commitment from all parties to deliver a safe, meaningful and high quality Games for all Special Olympics GB athletes, volunteers and partners where possible.

Ends 

For all Special Olympics GB press enquiries, please contact: 

Alison Lavenant, PR & Communications Consultant, Special Olympics Great Britain  

Tel: +44 (0) 7841 004 183 Email: alison.lavenant@sogb.org.uk 

For all Liverpool City Council press enquiries, please contact:

Sarah Latcham, Communications Officer, Liverpool City Council

Tel: +44 (0) 7793 660 570 Email: Sarah.Latcham@liverpool.gov.uk

Postponement – Questions and Answers
Last updated 22 May 2020

Q. Are the 2021 National Summer Games cancelled?

A. The 2021 National Summer Games are postponed. We are doing our very best to find a suitable time for the Games to be held at a future date. Cancellation of any Special Olympics GB National Games will only be considered if delivery is not in the best interests of the safety & wellbeing of our athletes and volunteers or the complex logistics required to deliver a games of this size are not workable.

Q. Why have the 2021 National Summer Games been postponed?

A. The decision to postpone the 2021 National Summer Games was made after careful consideration of the ever-changing Covid-19 situation and in full consultation, with a wide range of key stakeholders including the Special Olympics GB Board, staff, athlete leadership team, home-country representatives and local organising committee. It was agreed by everyone, that given the heightened risk to our athletes and the uncertainty surrounding the impact of Covid-19, postponement is the right decision to protect our athletes, volunteers and the integrity of the Games.

We understand this is disappointing news for everyone involved, however the welfare of the athletes and volunteers continues to be our top priority and we must protect the health and well-being of all those involved in preparing for and hosting a major event.

Q. When will the National Summer Games now take place?

A. We cannot confirm that at the moment, what we can say is that we are doing our best to find alternative options for the rescheduling of the event with a commitment to deliver safe, meaningful and high-quality games for all Special Olympics GB athletes, volunteers and partners.

Q. Will the National Summer games still be held in Liverpool?

A. Rescheduling an event of this scale during these unprecedented times is not an easy thing to do. With so many other events due to take place in Liverpool, it is too early to say now. However, it is everyone’s hope that Liverpool will be able to host the National Summer Games.

Q. What does this mean in terms of timelines?

A. Once an announcement has been made in relation to the dates that the games will take place, we will be able to re-work the associated timelines for submitting any revised quotas, entries, any outstanding registrations and payments.

Q. Will our Quota places be affected?

A. Unfortunately, at this stage we are not in a position to be able to answer this definitively. With so many elements of the games needing to be reviewed, it will take some time before we are able to confirm this. The aim and commitment from the Local Organising Committee is to deliver the games as planned allowing for any adaptations required to ensure it is a safe, high-quality, meaningful event for all involved.

Q. Will the games still include the same sports?

A. It is too early to say at this stage, however, the aim and commitment from the Local Organising Committee is to deliver the games as planned allowing for any adaptations required to ensure it is a safe, high-quality, meaningful event for all involved.

Q. How will this impact qualifying competitions?

A. The extended lead in time for the National Summer Games presents an opportunity to work closely with Regions and Technical Delegates to ensure that competition opportunities are provided in order to suitably qualify athletes for the National Games. Once we are in a position to resume sport and activity, we will implement an updated sanctioning process to incorporate government and public health guidance ensuring the safety of athletes and volunteers as well as deliver a high-quality event experience.

Q. How will the postponement affect World Summer Games selection?

A. We are yet to receive the timescales for Berlin 2023, we are aware, however, that there will need to be some reworking of the current selection process for the World Summer Games team and the qualifying for athletes in light of a postponed National Summer Games. This will be worked through in due course.

Q. What if we come through the current situation quicker than we think? Could the Games be reinstated for the same dates?

A. Unfortunately not, we have taken this decision based on government advice and to ensure that the health and wellbeing of all our athletes and volunteers is paramount. The situation around easing of lockdown remains unclear and as such there would not now be sufficient time to reschedule the games or for the athletes to train sufficiently to reinstate the games in august 2021.

Q. What if the Games are rescheduled and there is a second Covid-19 outbreak. Will we be in the same position again?

A. We are all dealing with an unprecedented situation and none of us can be sure if there will be another Covid-19 outbreak in the future. If we are able to re schedule and another outbreak occurs then we will take government advice and only continue if it is safe for every athlete, volunteer, partner and supporter to attend.

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