COVID-19 looms over Norwegian sports

Norway backs out of co-hosting women’s handball championships

handball

Photo: Bo Arnstrip
Norway’s Marta Tomac and Montenegro’s Đurđina Jaukovic face off during the handball match in the Golden League between Montenegro and Norway in Vibocold Arena in Vibord, Denmark, Oct. 4, 2020.

The Local

Norway has pulled out of co-hosting the women’s European handball championship just two weeks before the start in December due to restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic, its federation said on Nov. 16.

“Based on in-depth assessments by Norwegian health authorities, as well as clear demands from Norwegian political authorities, it is now clear that Norway cannot be an organizer of the women’s European handball championship,” the federation said.

Denmark is now considering whether to host the event on its own.

Strict restrictions are, however, currently in place in the northern Jutland region, where some of the matches were due to be played, after a mutated version of the virus was found in the country’s mink population, infecting 12 people.

The European Handball Federation “very much regrets the decision of the Norwegian government,” it said in a statement, referring to the Norwegian health authorities’ refusal to grant exemptions to the strict measures it has imposed.

Under current rules, if a player or team official tests positive for the virus, the entire team must quarantine, as well as the teams that it has recently competed with.
The rules are less strict in Denmark. The championships will now be held there, in Herning on the Jutland peninsula, Dec. 3–20.

Norway was scheduled to host about 60% of matches, including the final, in Trondheim.

While Norway has been one of the countries in Europe least affected by the pandemic, it has seen a recent uptick in cases, which has led authorities to introduce a series of measures, notably on cultural and sporting events.

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 27, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

The Local

This article first appeared in The Local, a independent source for Norway's news in English. Visit www.thelocal.no.

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