As the Novel Coronavirus has been spreading across the globe, the associated disease COVID-19 is taking more and more people ill and causing deaths, and the unprecedented global governmental restrictions affect almost everyone on the planet now, the world seems to almost come to a standstill. This also includes the world of sport and – of interest to all of us – the world of korfball. I realize this situation raises lots of anxiety and concern regarding your professional and personal life. In this respect, korfball is only of a minor importance as you all prioritize the critical matters in your life.
For our national organizations that have had to cancel leagues and events, the current situation along with the high uncertainty leads to many complexities to be considered. In addition, large financial losses and risks are present that may affect their financial health in the upcoming years. Many of our national organizations are also dependent on government funding. Unfortunately the impact of the virus on government finances may imply reduced public funding to be available to sport for an extended period of time. At the IKF, we are aware of the many challenges that you are facing, and we have been in touch with quite a few of you to exchange communication. I want to explicitly thank all our national organizations for the responsibility they have taken with regard to their national leagues and the safety of their korfball community, and also for their continued rapid responses to any of our requests for information.
In this update, I would like to explain how we at the IKF have been handling the issues that have been arising with the global spread of this pandemic. Up until this date, we have decided to cancel the IKF U16/U19 Asian Korfball Championship in Thailand and the IKF U19 Open European Korfball Championship in the Netherlands. For both events, we still keep options open to host the event at a later time this year, but the current uncertainty is such that we do not have any actual planned alternative date.
For the events in June, July, and August we have developed a timeline for reviewing and decision making. This timeline has been communicated to all national organizations. In particular for the IKF U21 World Korfball Championship in Taipei in July, we have conducted an inventory among the participating countries, and we appreciate the full disclosure of the status of their travel plans with us. Simultaneously, we have been coordinating with the Local Organizing Committee in Taipei and the public authorities on the island of Taiwan to get an insight into the developing health measures taken on the island, the technical and health limitations of a championship in July, and the investigation of potential alternative dates later this year. Before the end of this month, we will hold a hearing where the team managers of the participating teams have been invited, along with representatives from the LOC, and the IKF medical and athletes committees. The IKF Executive Committee will have a (online) meeting on April 4 to review the entire situation and we are planning in that meeting to make a decision regarding the IKF U21 WKC and also review the timeline for other events. Despite the rapidly changing situation, we will try to make decisions for global and large events ideally about three months before the scheduled event. For smaller regional events, where feasible, we will try to make the decision closer to the event date. In the meantime, we request all teams and hosts to try and limit their financial exposure with any planned events. It is realistic to expect over the next months, and maybe even years, that there is a risk of date changes and cancellations relating to any international korfball event. Deposits will be returned if an event needs to be canceled.
In the mean time, we need to rely on helping each other in need. First, this obviously relates to your family, friends, and anyone else that is close and dear to you. It also requires, for the general health situation, to observe all recommendations of the World Health Organization with regard to personal hygiene, social distancing, and any other advice being provided by them. As a korfball community, we very much rely and value personal relationships. These contacts in many cases will need to move online now. I ask you to not forget friends in your korfball community that may need help, even if this is only taking some time for a video call for those that may be lonely. Take care of each other, and eventually our korfball community will be become even more tightly connected.