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British Canoeing confirms its athletes will not compete internationally in 2020.

In this unprecedented season, which has seen the majority of major international events cancelled or postponed, the Board of British Canoeing has confirmed that, with the possible exceptions of one or two events which are scheduled towards the end of 2020, British Canoeing will not be entering athletes and teams into any international competitions for the remainder of the 2020 season.

This view was formed through consultation with each of the discipline committees, athlete surveys and a close examination of the risks and rewards associated with entries in the few competitions still remaining on the calendar.

The possible exceptions this year are the Wild Water Racing European Junior and U23 Championship and the Wild Water Racing World Cup. These will be subject to the same review by British Canoeing in August.

David Joy, Chief Executive of British Canoeing, said: “With the ongoing threat of Covid-19 in the UK and across the world it is very difficult for British Canoeing to provide a ‘safe’ environment for athletes, staff and volunteers at competitions. 

“There are many complex issues which make it impossible to select and prepare our teams for international competition at this time and we will now focus our work with each discipline to explore the opportunities for domestic racing later this year if this can be delivered safely and responsibly within government guidelines.”

Some of the factors which influenced the decision included:

  • Athletes will require a solid training block ahead of team selection and international competition and it appears highly unlikely that this can be achieved by those athletes seeking selection for international teams
  • The four Home Nations have all had different restrictions and the return to training has been at different times and speeds, which provides an unfair basis for team selection
  • It is highly unlikely that even if international competition recommences in September, that government guidelines in the UK will enable us to hold selection races with appropriate notice and sufficient time ahead to make arrangements
  • In risk assessing each trip, there are so many aspects that will flag an increased risk which will be  difficult to mitigate against, that it is likely that even if there was a desire to attend, the risk may conclude as being too high
  • Those attending international competition in some countries may be required to quarantine on return and even if no formal quarantine is required, it is most likely that we would implement a quarantine to protect other team members who have remained in a more controlled environment

Individuals or teams entering level 3 or 4 ICF events individually will be entitled to do so, however they will be personally responsible for all aspects of entering and competing at the event, including organising their own insurance. They will also be unable to compete in any domestic event organised under the auspices of British Canoeing for 14 days after returning home.

International Technical Officials if invited to officiate in international competition, will be entitled to do so and will be supported by British Canoeing as previously, but they will not be able to attend or officiate in any domestic events for 14 days after returning home.