Sweden's Gothia Cup cancelled due to coronavirus

The world's largest youth football tournament is latest major sports event to fall victim to global pandemic

Sweden's Gothia Cup youth football tournament has been cancelled for the first time in its 45-year history.
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Sweden's Gothia Cup, the world's largest youth football tournament, has been cancelled for the first time in its history due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers had previously said they would not make a decision on this year's competition, due to begin on July 13, until June.

Last year, 13 teams from the UAE entered the annual summer tournament in Gothenburg, which brings together around 1,700 youth football squads from more than 80 countries.

But, after consulting with the Swedish Public Health Agency and the WHO, organisers have decided to call-off the event that was held for the first time in 1975.

”These are the most difficult words I have ever tried to compose: There will be no Gothia Cup this year," said general secretary Dennis Andersson.

"Those who have experienced Gothia Cup, know that you get captured by this collective feeling where nothing is impossible. A world where there’s only room for joyfulness, fellowship and hope. The power of 35,000 youth, uniting the world with a conviction to improve it.

"For 45 years, this feeling has captured Gothenburg during one week in July and I am devastated to conclude that we won’t get to experience that this summer.

"Nevertheless, this is one of the easiest decisions I’ve been involved in making. We have a great respect for the ongoing pandemic and the effect it has on all of us, all over the world.

"Right now, we must focus on protecting the elderly and the vulnerable and on implementing social distancing."

Organisers say that all registered teams can use their registration fee for this year's tournament to secure their spot in Gothia Cup 2021, or arrange a full refund.

Registration fees per team cost between $300 and $500 (Dh1,800), excluding travel and accommodation costs.