LEN, the governing body in Europe for 6 aquatic disciplines, has announced the ‘unanimous’ decision to move the 2020 European Aquatics Championships to 2021.
After Monday’s announcement that the 2021 World Championships would move to 2022, this opened up the pre-Olympic slot for the multi-discipline 2022 European Aquatics Championships. This is the same slot where they would have been held in 2020 before the Olympic Games were postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The new dates will be May 10th-23rd, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. This is almost exactly one year after the original dates of May 11th-24th, 2020. The event includes championships in swimming, diving, open water swimming, and synchronized swimming. Water polo was not scheduled to be part of the original championship, and nothing has been announced by their future.
“The decision to reschedule the Championships to 10-23 May 2021 has been taken in full cooperation and agreement with the Hungarian Swimming Association, the Hungarian Government and local organizers,” a statement by LEN reads. “We believe it is realistic to hope that by May 2021 things will have returned to normal, hence allowing the organization of an exceptional event.”
The head of the Hungarian swimming federation hinted that this move would happen late last week, but LEN said at the time that no decision had been made. The latest release from LEN says that the decision was made on Sunday as part of a weekly virtual meeting with the organization’s decision-making bureau.
2020 European Water Polo Cups Cancelled
Also on Tuesday, LEN cancelled its 3 major remaining water polo competitions for 2020:
- 2019-2020 Water Polo Champions Leagues (men and women)
- 2019-2020 Water Polo Euro League (women)
- 2019-2020 Water Polo Euro League (men)
LEN does say that they plan to resume those competitions next season.
“The above decisions have not been taken lightheartedly by LEN, but I am convinced that under the current circumstances it was the most appropriate decision,” said LEN president Paolo Barelli in announcing the news.
“LEN’s priority is above all the health and safety of all athletes, coaches and of the whole LEN family. By cancelling some of the 2020 LEN competitions and postponing others to 2021, LEN is protecting its Family and, at the same time, ensuring we can restart in 2021 stronger than before, with the organization of LEN events meeting the highest standards we have all been used to.
“Once again, all the best and good health to all of you and I look forward to seeing you all soon.”
Coronavirus Situation in Budapest
According to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, Hungary has only had 3,065 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 363 deaths caused by COVID-19. The country’s political leadership has consolidated power and instituted extreme measures under the auspices of coronavirus control. Several members of the Hungarian National Swimming Team tested positive for the virus after returning from training camps abroad, but none have reported any severe symptoms.
Members of the Hungarian National Team are back in the water at national training centers, specifically Duna Arena in Budapest where the European Championships will be held, providing they test negative for coronavirus.