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The IIHF Council, following the recommendations of the IIHF COVID-19 Expert Group, has decided to cancel the 2020/21 IIHF Continental Cup, due to the ongoing pandemic.

The Continental Cup was scheduled to begin on 16th October with the Qualifying Round, set to be played in two venues: Group A in Akureyri, Iceland, and Group B Sofia, Bulgaria.

Sheffield Steelers were due to be the UK’s representative, starting in Round 2 in Asiago, Italy.

The IIHF Council made the decision during a video conference meeting on Monday, 24 August. While informing the Council of the reasons to recommend a full cancellation, the Expert Group pointed towards existing travel restrictions still in place within Group A host Iceland.

Additional existing concerns surrounding the capability of tournament hosts and competing teams to be able to ensure compliance with the IIHF’s COVID-19 safety regulations, prompted the Council to move to cancel the entire tournament.

“We have been carefully evaluating the ability of our tournament hosts to execute the Continental Cup in a manner that is safe and in compliance with our health and safety guidelines,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “Unfortunately, the nature of this tournament involves six different countries hosting and 20 different travelling clubs, and under the current global situation with the pandemic we do not feel that it is safe to proceed with this tournament.”

The sportive implications of the cancelled Continental Cup will be looked at by the IIHF’s Competition & Coordination Committee.