The European Winners' Cup (EWC) is the highest standard club competition in Europe. Consisting of the winners of all major European national leagues, it is the very best teams from across Europe. Known amongst the tchoukball community as the EWC, it is held each year in late March.
Please see the following statement with regard to the 2020 EWC and the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation in Europe:
To: all European National Federations,
On behalf of the European Tchoukball Federation (ETBF) Executive Committee:
The European Tchoukball Federation (ETBF) and the Organising Committee of the European Winners’ Cup (EWC) have been in contact over the past weeks and in particular, over the last few days, to discuss the EWC in Warsaw scheduled for 27-29 March and the risk of COVID-19 with regard to the event.
The number of cases in Poland so far has been identified as very small, so initially, the outlook for the EWC was positive with little cause for concern. However, the situation changed recently with the emphasis, not on the chances of a player catching COVID-19 but instead the risk of players from countries with existing positive cases coming together in the same place and the potential threat this could pose for the hosts. The ETBF would like to make it very clear that the concern does not centre around a particular country; all European countries have incidences of the virus and although the risk is greater in some countries, the running of a truly pan-European event at a time of intense focus on the virus is our main concern.
So far, the reaction of the Polish authorities has been swift and decisive. This is good for those people in Poland who are concerned about the virus, but emergency legislation is currently being put through the Polish parliament to give local authorities power of detention and quarantine without the need for justification. There is a possibility, even a likelihood that people coming from infected countries with any possible sign of carrying COVID-19 could be quarantined upon arrival, together with anyone they are travelling with. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Poland led the government to immediately quarantine 140 people. The potential of this type of action poses a serious risk to all players attending the event.
On Saturday 7 March, the Italian authorities suspended travel in 5 provinces of North Italy, preventing travel for several EWC teams.
The ETBF understands and respects the need for sovereign countries to act accordingly to the spread of COVID-19 but also has a duty to protect its athletes and the reputation of Tchoukball in Europe. Therefore, upon the recommendation of the OC, the ETBF has agreed with their assessment that the EWC 2020 should be postponed to a future date. This decision has not been taken lightly and both the ETBF and the OC have investigated all potential outcomes to the situation presented. We have reviewed the spread of COVID-19 in other countries and considered future outcomes before taking this decision.
As with the European Silver Cup (ESC), further communications will be issued in the following days to find the best possible solution for clubs and players with regard to this competition.
Once again this is a truly unprecedented situation we find ourselves in and we are all doing our best to manage what is a rapidly changing landscape.