Ljubljana – The organising committee for the FIS Cross-Country World Cup events scheduled to take place in the Planica Nordic Centre in Slovenia on 22 and 23 January has cancelled the competition, citing the steep rise in coronavirus infections in the country as the reason.
The venue in north-western Slovenia was scheduled to host the men’s and women’s classical sprint on 22 January and the men’s 30km and women’s 15km skiathlon on 23 January.
The Planica organising committee said on Monday that the decision to cancel the events had been made in cooperation with all partners as the number of infections with Covid-19 continues to rise steeply.
The decision comes as the snow conditions in the Planica Centre are ideal and the venue and accompanying infrastructure is undergoing final preparations.
With the dates for the events being close to the start of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, some of the foreign teams said that their appearance in Planica was questionable or decided to register members of their B teams for the events.
The organising committee noted the “critical epidemiological situation in Slovenia and Europe” and the “sharp rise in Covid-19 infections and projections of an additional increase in the coming days”.
It added that this made it even more difficult to provide a safe environment for the competitors and staff and that, according to experts, it was not possible to provide sufficient protection at such a large event.
“The epidemiological situation is bad and we are trying to maintain the functioning of critical infrastructure, so we advise against events that pose additional risk,” said epidemiologist Irena Grmek Košnik, the Covid-19 coordinator in the committee.