The World Curling Federation, in consultation with the local organisers, has made the extremely difficult decision to cancel five upcoming world championship qualification events and postpone two additional championships due to the ongoing challenges caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The cancelled events are:
- The Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2020
- The Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2020
- The Americas Challenge 2020
- The World Qualification Event 2021
- The World Junior-B Curling Championships 2021
The postponed events are:
- The World Wheelchair-B Curling Championship 2020
- The trial World Wheelchair Mixed Doubles Championship
The World Wheelchair-B Curling Championship 2020 and the trial World Wheelchair Mixed Doubles Curling Championship event have been postponed and will be held in January 2021 replacing the World Junior-B Curling Championships 2021 and the World Qualification Event 2021 in the calendar. These four events were all set to take place at the Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja, Finland.
World Curling Federation President, Kate Caithness said of the event cancellations: “We are deeply disappointed that we have been left with no option but to cancel our world championship qualification events due to the complications involved with international travel in this global pandemic.
“We have been working tirelessly behind the scenes in an attempt to hold these events, however, the health and safety of our athletes, staff, volunteers and spectators will always remain our primary concern.
“These championships were vitally important in the 2020–2021 season and despite the challenging situation we now find ourselves in due to these cancelled events, we believe we have found a fair world championship qualification.”
New world championship qualification process
With the cancellation of all world women’s and men’s world championship qualification events, a new qualification process for the 2021 world championships has been implemented.
Qualification for the 2021 edition of both the world women’s and world men’s championships will now be determined through a combination of the 2019 qualification event results and the existing World Rankings.
As there was no last place finisher in the cancelled 2020 editions of the world championships, the zonal allocation is:
- Americas Zone – two places determined by the World Rankings
- European Zone – eight places determined by the results from the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2019
- Pacific-Asia Zone – two places determined by the results from the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2019
The final entry into the world championship will then be allocated to the Member Association highest in the World Rankings who has not already qualified for the championship.
LGT World Women’s Curling Championship 2021
Entries for the LGT World Women’s Curling Championship 2021 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland are as follows:
Americas: Canada and United States
Europe: Sweden, Scotland, Russia, Germany, Czech Republic Denmark and Estonia
Pacific-Asia: China and Japan
Final place based on World Rankings: Korea
Italy women had secured a place to the World Women’s Curling Championship 2020 from the World Qualification Event 2020 but are lower in the World Rankings than Korea. As such Italy will automatically receive a place in the extended Olympic Qualification Event 2021.
World Men’s Curling Championship 2021
Entries for the World Men’s Curling Championship 2021 in Ottawa, Canada are as follows:
Americas: United States
Europe: Sweden, Switzerland, Scotland, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Germany and Netherlands
Pacific-Asia: Korea and Japan
Final place based on World Rankings: Russia
The World Junior-B Curling Championships 2021 has been cancelled to make room in the calendar for the World Wheelchair-B Curling Championship 2020. The implications for this cancellation mean that only the teams who finished in tenth place in the World Junior Curling Championships 2020 will now be relegated. China, who did not compete in the 2020 championships, automatically qualify as hosts of the World Junior Curling Championships 2021. The teams relegated to the Junior-B championships are Hungary junior women and Norway junior men.
The trial World Wheelchair Mixed Doubles Championship will replace the World Qualification event in the 2020–2021 season calendar. The Member Associations will vote at the World Curling Annual General Assembly on whether this event will become an officially sanctioned World Championship prior to the attempt to propose this discipline for inclusion in the Paralympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026.