FISU President Oleg Matytsin has called for optimism over the prospects of the new year ©Getty Images

International University Sports Federation (FISU) President Oleg Matytsin has called for optimism over 2021 in an end-of-year message where he reflected on the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the video message, Matytsin recalled some of the successes of FISU during the pandemic and asked the university sport community to try and be positive moving forward.

"There are brighter days ahead," Matytsin said.

"As always, they are brighter because of the hard work of so many."

The coronavirus crisis led to the cancelation of numerous World University Championships in 2020, while the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy and the FISU World Forum - two education programmes - were organised entirely online for the first time.

Matytsin also expressed his gratitude to National University Sports Federations, as well the Organising Committees of FISU events FISU staff, for the work they have put in in 2020.

"Many of you have continued to make sport a big part of your lives, as well as of those around you, despite the obvious challenges of the pandemic," Matytsin said.

"This has taken a big effort, please know that FISU recognises and appreciates your effort."

The FISU President expressed hope that the Chengdu 2021 World University Games would go ahead as planned, while also acknowledging the postponement of the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade.

That event is now due to take place from December 11 to 21, having been postponed from January dates.

"Together with our Swiss partners, the National University Sports Federations and the International Federations of winter sports, we were able to find the best solution for everyone, guaranteeing the organisation of Lucerne 2021," added Matytsin.

The global launch of the FISU Healthy Campus programme, which looks to encourage physical activity and healthy choices at universities, was also referenced after being launched this year.

More than 40 universities have already joined the initiative.