The International University Sports Federation (FISU), announced its joint decision with the Lucerne 2021 Organising Committee to hold the Winter Universiade from 11 to 21 December 2021, in Central Switzerland and Lenzerheide. Since late August, the organisers had halted preparations for the 30th edition of this unique event, initially scheduled to take place in January 2021, and looked into the possibility of postponing it, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are extremely pleased that the Winter Universiade 2021 can still take place, in spite of the pandemic-induced postponement,” said FISU President Oleg Matytsin. “After very careful consultation between all relevant stakeholders, including the six cantons of Central Switzerland, we mutually agreed to hold the event in December 2021.”
“Here in Switzerland, where FISU also has its headquarters, we have been looking forward to this edition of our Games for many years,” he added.
The decision to evaluate the possibility to postpone the Games from January 2021 to a later date was taken on 31 August 2020. Since then, FISU worked closely with the Organising Committee, the involved International Federations of winter sports and all stakeholders to try and find a solution for holding the postponed Games in December 2021.
“We worked closely with our national member federations as well as the six International Federations governing the sports of the Winter Games. December 2021 had emerged as the strongest possibility for rescheduling the Games,” said FISU Secretary General-CEO Eric Saintrond.
“After detailed deliberations on the very tight international sports calendar, and several rounds of discussions, we agreed with the Organising Committee that the Games will now be held from 11 to 21 December 2021.”
“This year has been dramatically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” added the FISU SG-CEO. “The ripple effects will be felt in the international sports calendar over the next year or more. We had to keep in mind the current situation, national budgeting and international sport calendars.”
“It was only thanks to enormous commitment and good collaboration between the cantons, the city of Lucerne and the main stakeholders in the sports industry and the region that we were able to present FISU with this proposal to postpone the event,” explained President of the Organising Committee and Cantonal Councillor of Lucerne, Guido Graf.
Swiss Olympic President Jürg Stahl added: “Sport gives many young people an opportunity. The Winter Universiade offers a platform for high-performance sport as well as higher education. These topics must not be forgotten during the pandemic.”
The FISU President thanked the Lucerne 2021 Organising Committee for their tireless efforts and support through a challenging time.
“On behalf of everyone at FISU, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the State authorities of Switzerland, the different Cantons and the Lucerne 2021 Organising Committee for their unwavering commitment,” he said. “Let us now deliver on the promise of international university sport for thousands of young athletes around the world.”
The Winter Universiade is the largest winter multisport event for university student-athletes. In December 2021, the 30th edition of this event will take place as a joint project of the six cantons of Central Switzerland: Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden, Nidwalden and Zug, as well as the city of Lucerne. The programme will comprise competitions in ten sporting disciplines held at seven venues.
Further information on the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade can be found at: www.winteruniversiade2021.ch.