The Softball Europe Board has taken what they are calling the “tough decision” to call off the 2021 European Co-ed Slowpitch Championship, which had been scheduled for 15-19 June in Colorno, Italy.

Softball Europe had pledged to make a Yes/No decision on each of its 2021 Championship and Cup tournaments 45 days before the start of each competition, and on 2 May, 45 days before the start date for the Co-ed Slowpitch Championship, the decision was that the tournament would go ahead.

But with a number of countries – including Great Britain – having already withdrawn, and with no indication that the Italian government will waive quarantine requirements for teams arriving to play in the tournament, Softball Europe felt they had no choice but to cancel the event.

Meanwhile, there are now strong indications from the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) that an inaugural Co-ed Slowpitch World Cup for national teams will be held in the autumn of 2023  In these circumstances, Softball Europe is likely to hold a European Co-ed Slowpitch Championship in the summer of 2022 and use it as a qualifier for the World Cup – though this remains to be confirmed.

Presidential notice

In a letter to teams that had registered for the European Slowpitch Championship, Softball Europe President Gabriel Waage wrote:

“As we are coming closer and closer to Day 1 of the Co-ed Slowpitch European Championship, we still have no indication that the Italian Government will cancel all quarantines of national teams arriving in Italy for the tournament.

“Although we can see an optimistic scenario on the borders opening up around Europe, we have no written confirmation and teams are pulling out due to time pressure.  Another issue is that our officials from outside Italy have had their travel insurance cancelled because of their own governments’ advice, which is outside of our control.

“Taking all this information and the current situation, Softball Europe has sadly decided to cancel this event.  We are doing it at the last moment as we did hope it would work out.

“The Italian Federation has been informed and is in agreement with this tough decision and the organisers are also aware.

“Thank you for your enthusiasm for Co-ed Slowpitch play.  I share your disappointment and look forward to returning to this Championship event in the future.”

GB plans

Having taken the decision to withdraw from the European Championship some weeks ago, GB Slowpitch staff are currently working on plans to keep up momentum in the programme and get players some game play during 2021.

After this year, with the pandemic hopefully behind us, GB Slowpitch players and and staff can look forward to a resumption of European Championship play in 2022 and the exciting prospect of a WBSC World Cup in 2023.