LEN, the governing body for aquatic sports including swimming in Europe, has announced that all sports and non-sports events scheduled to take place before the end of June/beginning of July are being put on hold, postponed, or cancelled due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
“As we all know we are experiencing an unprecedented situation that is changing on a daily basis,” the letter, signed by LEN president Paolo Barelli, reads. “Due to the many uncertainties it is very difficult to make any firm planning and the above can indeed change, should the situation evolve in any different way vs. what foreseen today.
“LEN will obviously continue monitoring the situation and adapt as required to unconditionally safeguard the health and safety of the athletes, coaches and of the whole LEN Family.”
Barelli has previously spoken out about the need to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games in light of the coronavirus pandemic. His home country of Italy has been hit as hard as anywhere in the world. According to Johns Hopkins University, Italy has almost 64,000 confirmed cases, which ranks it 2nd behind only China. 6,077 deaths is the most in the world, almost twice as many as China.
- The 2020 European Aquatics Championships have tentative dates set for August 17th-30th, 2020. LEN says that this date will be assessed in May or June, and that if it is still not feasible, in conjunction with the organizing committee the event could be moved to an even later date, including spring of 2021. If the Olympic Games are postponed until 2021, a spring date for the European Championships would reinsert them at a similar relative date to the Olympics as they were meant to be this year. This event was to be the European Championship in swimming, open water swimming, diving, and artistic swimming.
- The 2020 LEN European Masters Championships are being postponed. The plan is to hold them alongside the main championships, with more planning to be done later.
- The LEN Congress scheduled for May 10th, 2020 in Budapest will not be held as planned. LEN is working on a plan forward in compliance with the organization’s constitution.
- The LEN European Junior Championships were scheduled to be held between the end of June and early July 2020 are also being postponed. “LEN will assess with the individual organizers whether such events can be postponed to August-September 2020 or whether a different decision will have to be made. The European Junior Swimming Championships were scheduled for Aberdeen, Scotland from July 8th-12th.
- LEN Water Polo Cups have been put on hold, and LEN is assessing whether they can happen as planned. That includes the Champions League Final 8 that is scheduled for June 4th-6th in Recco, Italy. LEN is also awaiting direction from FINA and the IOC on the final Olympic Qualification Tournaments.