Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the decision to postpone the 2021 games was made in late May. Having explored all the options for the Games to take place in Liverpool in 2022, the city council has made the difficult decision that it is undeliverable.
The unknowns which surround the ongoing health pandemic and the complex and crowded event calendar in 2022 including Liverpool’s commitment to host the World Gymnastics Championships in the same year have played their part in reaching this difficult decision. Combined with this, the full extent of the serious financial impact the pandemic has had on the city council is yet to be realised.
Therefore the city council felt it had no choice and informed SOGB that it is unable to host the event in the city. Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “I am both personally and professionally devastated that Liverpool will not be able to host the rearranged 2021 Special Olympics National Summer Games.
“Liverpool produced an ambitious and innovative bid for the 2021 Games that promised athletes would have the time of their lives and we were wholeheartedly committed to doing just that. None of us could have foreseen a global pandemic that has derailed the plans on such an unprecedented scale and whilst our values have not deviated, it is inevitable that plans have had to be reassessed.
“My team has worked extremely hard over the last two months following the postponement of the 2021 event to find a way in which Liverpool could host the event in 2022.
“They have reviewed a complex mix of venue and accommodation availability, budget and commercial sponsorship options, capacity and calendar availability both locally and in a congested international sporting calendar and we simply have been unable to find a suitable solution that would do the athletes justice.
“It is with a heavy heart that we will not be able to host this event. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of Special Olympics GB the very best and we would welcome the opportunity to work with them in the future, when the time is right. I would also like to express my thanks to the Liverpool 2021 Board for their commitment, support and understanding. “
Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Chair of the 2021 National Summer Games Board said: “The decision to postpone the games originally planned for next August was taken back in May this year and has proven to be the right decision. Since then, the city council and other stakeholders have been working tirelessly to develop a viable plan to stage the games in 2022.
“Unfortunately, despite the city’s best efforts and its tremendous enthusiasm for the games and everything they stand for, it has now been determined that this is not going to be possible. While this is disappointing news, it has always been clear to everyone at Special Olympics GB that the city of Liverpool has been fully committed to hosting what is a tremendous sporting showcase, and we all hope that we can continue this good relationship in the future.”
Paul Richardson, Chair of Special Olympics GB Board of Trustees said: “As you can imagine everyone at Special Olympics GB is deeply disappointed and saddened that Liverpool City Council has made this decision – none more so than our athletes. Covid-19 has had, and continues to have, a huge impact both mentally and physically on our athletes, and this decision will be felt deeply.
“The work now begins on our next steps and what realistically can be achieved under these unprecedented and challenging times. On behalf of Special Olympics GB, we would like to thank everyone involved for their hard-work and dedication as part of this journey and we very much hope our paths will cross again in the future.”