The WCF has expanded the number of teams at its men's and women's World Championships next year ©Getty Images

The number of teams at the men's and women's World Curling Championships has been expanded from 13 to 14 after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of zonal qualification events.

China has been added to the list of entrants for the men's event in Ottawa and Italy has been granted the extra place at the women's tournament in Schaffhausen in Switzerland.

The World Curling Federation (WCF) said it had received a request to "evaluate the possibility of including those teams who had secured a place in the 2020 World Championships but failed to meet the qualification requirements for the 2021 Championships" due to the impact of COVID-19 on qualifying for the events.

"After this evaluation, it has been agreed that Italy will now be included in the LGT World Women's Curling Championship 2021, while China will become the 14th team in the World Men's Curling Championship 2021," the WCF added.

Italy have been added to the women's event to complete the 14-team line-up ©WCF
Italy have been added to the women's event to complete the 14-team line-up ©WCF

China and Italy were granted the additional places following their results at the World Qualification Event 2020.

Continental Championships in Europe, Pacific-Asia and the Americas and the 2021 World Qualification Event were cancelled by the WCF last month, forcing the global governing body to alter the qualification process for the two events.

The Women's World Championship is scheduled to run from March 20 to 28, with the Men's World Championship following from April 3 to 11.

The WCF cancelled all of its World Championships this year due to the global health crisis.