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British Canoeing Non-Olympic and Junior Sprint/Slalom 2021 International Team Travel Covid-19 Policy Statement

British Canoeing are grateful for the continued work of the ICF, ECA and National Federations to, where possible, deliver an international events programme for 2021.

As we move into the summer, it seems clear that the implications of Covid-19 are going to be a consideration not only in the UK, but throughout the World, for several months to come and through 2021.

The ICF and ECA are reviewing the situation on an event by event basis with relevant host National Federations. Decisions to go ahead with events rely on current advice specific to the host country government.

Throughout the pandemic British Canoeing has maintained that the health and welfare of staff, athletes and volunteers is the highest priority. 

The organisation has aligned our actions and advice with government and public health advice or legislation and has worked to ensure consistency in approach and rationale behind all its decisions. British Canoeing will continue to strike a balance between supporting teams to travel and compete where possible, whilst ensuring we are prioritising the health and wellbeing of those involved.

For the 2021 season, decisions around British Team entry into international events will be taken on an event by event basis. Following the introduction of the red, amber and green traffic light system for travel abroad, British Canoeing have sought clarity from UK Sport as to how this impacts the viability of Great Britain teams competing abroad. British Canoeing has also engaged with other National Governing Bodies to check consistency in approach.

Government guidance states that “You should not travel to amber or red list countries or territories for leisure purposes”.  

UK Sport have confirmed that unless someone is travelling under the elite sport exemption (which only applies to athletes and key support personnel for Olympic and Paralympic disciplines and only for Tokyo/Paris events & profiled trips), any trip beyond that narrow definition, would be regarded as leisure or recreation.

Consequently, travel of non-Olympic or junior slalom/sprint teams to international competition is classed as leisure travel and so British Canoeing is unable to support participation in events in amber or red countries. 

We understand that athletes, parents and coaches will be disappointed and we share the frustration that this situation will cause.

Over the coming weeks, British Canoeing will work closely with Discipline Committees to support the running of selection events, review the classification and risk of individual events, and where a country is on the green list support travel and entry (subject to an event/trip risk assessment).