The 2021 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival has been rearranged for a second time ©EYOF2021

The 2021 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Vuokatti in Finland has been postponed until March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is the second time the event has been rearranged due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The festival, for athletes between the age of 14 and 18, had been due to take place from February 6 to 13 before being pushed back to December 11 to 18.

Organisers have confirmed new dates of March 20 to 25.

The European Olympic Committees (EOC) said the men's ice hockey tournament in Kajaani would remain in December "to allow the best players from Europe to take part in the event", with the other events moving to the rescheduled March slot.

In a statement, the EOC said the decision to push back the festival by three months "comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grip the European continent, while a three-month delay will also allow for more optimal snow conditions in the north of Finland, thereby providing the best possible platform for ski and snowboard athletes."

"The delay will also help the hosts save on snow-making costs," the organisation added.

Around 1,800 athletes from 48 European National Olympic Committees are expected to compete at Vuokatti 2021.

Alpine skiing, biathlon, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, short track speed skating, figure skating and Nordic combined are also on the programme.

The Summer EYOF in Banská Bystrica in Slovakia has also moved to 2022 as a result of the global health crisis.