The IBSA Goalball European Championships B, scheduled to take place in Lahti from May 31 to June 7, is appealing for referees ©IBSA

The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball is calling for referees to register their interest and availability for this year’s European Championships B in Lahti.

The event is scheduled to take place in the Finnish city from May 31 to June 7 and is set to be the sport’s first major international tournament since the Goalball African Championships concluded in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ten men’s and eight women’s teams are expected to compete, including hosts Finland, in the women’s contest.

Teams will by vying for promotion to the A pool, with Pajulahti Olympic and Paralympic Training Centre to host all games.

IBSA Goalball is asking level two and three referees interested in attending to contact the organisation by April 16.

The Local Organising Committee has also published its COVID-19 safety guidelines for the tournament.

According to the guidelines, teams must be prepared for additional costs of possible testing, while the Finnish Government demands a 72-hour quarantine period before the event.

Teams will also be asked to provide their own face masks which must be worn when not on the field of play during the tournament.

The IBSA previously said a "goalball bubble" would be established at the venue following the three-day isolation period and a round of COVID-19 tests.

Afula in Israel was due to host the competition last October, but organisers concluded it was not possible to stage it because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Competition was then scheduled to take place in Lahti in January only to be moved to May due to travel restrictions and the worsening coronavirus situation in Europe.

The COVID-19 infection rate in Finland has declined in recent week, dropping to 107 cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period.

Finland has registered more than 82,000 cases and about 870 deaths from coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.