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.