Sweden's Gothia Cup cancelled for the second successive year due to pandemic

Tournament organisers say they have acted upon the advice of Sweden's public health agency

Sweden's Gothia Cup, the world's largest youth football tournament, has been cancelled for the second successive year.

A statement from the tournament organisers cites Swedish government restrictions induced by the pandemic and the advice of the country's public health agency as the reasons for the cancellation.

The week-long competition was due to kick off in Gothenburg on July 18.

The annual summer tournament usually brings together 1,800 youth football teams from more than 80 countries. In 2019, when the tournament was last staged, 13 teams from the UAE travelled to compete.

World Cup winners Xabi Alonso and Andrea Pirlo are among those to have played in the tournament in their youth football years.

Dennis Andersson, Gothia Cup’s general secretary, said that organisers had been forced to make a “tough decision” in the interests of public health.

“We need to take our responsibility when the situation requires it,” he said.

“We would like to thank everyone for the understanding we have been shown in an extraordinary situation,” he added.

The organisers have spent the past year examining ways the 2021 edition could be staged, but with coronavirus cases running high in parts of the world and vaccination drives still being rolled out, the complications of staging an international tournament have ultimately proved too complex.

More than 900,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Sweden since the pandemic began. Over 13,000 coronavirus-related deaths have also been recorded in the country.

Organisers say that all registered teams can use any registration fee they may have paid for this year's tournament to secure their spot in Gothia Cup 2022, which is scheduled to start on July 17, or arrange a full refund.