The Guernsey 2021 Island Games have been postponed ©Guernsey 2021

The 2021 edition of the Island Games in Guernsey has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials at the International Island Games Association (IIGA) confirmed the move after holding their Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Competition was due to be held on the Channel Island between July 3 and 9 next year, meaning the event is a victim of the global health crisis despite being nine months away. 

The IIGA will now attempt to find new dates for next year's Games but the event will not take place in 2021.

Discussions are being held with both Guernsey 2021 and Orkney 2023 - the next scheduled edition - about how the calendar can be re-jigged.

"This decision was not made lightly and was based on the responses received from the recent survey undertaken with member islands, coupled with the best medical advice that could be maintained," said Jörgen Pettersson, the chairman of the IIGA.

"Quarantine regulations will continue to make planning forward very difficult and even impossible.

"We have met frequently with the Guernsey Organising Committee in order to find solutions.

"There are none, we have to face the facts."

The AGM was supposed to be held in Guernsey but instead took place virtually due to travel restrictions.

Twenty-three member islands took part.

"We are living in unprecedented times when nothing is normal and everything is new," Pettersson added.

"We have to deal with facts we cannot control.

"We are dealing with two confirmed host islands - Guernsey and Orkney.

"In order to get it right, we are not ready at this time to confirm the date or year for the next Games. 

"As an Executive Committee, we will discuss the future Games with Guernsey, Orkney and our member islands before we make a decision." 

The Island Games take place every two years with the last edition in Gibraltar in 2019.

Fourteen sports were on the programme and around 2,000 athletes took part.

Competing teams at the Island Games include Greenland, the Falkland Islands and the Isle of Man.

"In all of our planning, the health and safety of our athletes, volunteers, spectators, supporters and our Guernsey community have always been our priority, and will continue to be so," said Dame Mary Perkins, the chair of the Guernsey 2021 Organising Committee. 

"Whereas we know that this announcement comes as a huge disappointment, we would like to thank all our volunteers, sponsors and sports coordinators for their continued support."

Gordon Deans, the chair of Orkney 2023, added: "Today's announcement is of course disappointing for all concerned, however it is not surprising given the impacts felt worldwide from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"What impact this will have on our staging of the Games here in Orkney in 2023 is not yet known, with a period of consultation now due to take place with the island member groups to ascertain the preferred way forward."