European MTB Orienteering Championships to go ahead as planned

The European MTB Orienteering Championships, the European Junior MTB Orienteering Championships and the World Masters MTB Orienteering Championships in Finland in September will go ahead as planned. The IOF Council approved the proposal from the Finnish organisers at its meeting on the 9th of July.

With almost all events 2020 cancelled or postponed we can finally present some good news regarding IOF major events 2020. The organiser of the European MTB Orienteering Championships, the European Junior MTB Orienteering Championships and the World Masters MTB Orienteering Championships scheduled in Finland in September wish to proceed with the event based on the current number of registered athletes and the actual travel restrictions in Finland.

– Participation is lower than in previous years, with fewer countries at the European Championships and fewer masters registered for the masters event, leading to about 70% of the normal number of participants, according to IOF CEO Tom Hollowell.
– The Council determined that for this regional event, the prospect of travel restrictions lessening somewhat across Europe prior to September and the organisers’ strong deisire to put on the event, the criteria for going ahead were met.

325 athletes are registered for the three events, among those are 76 entries for the EMTBOC (in comparision with 120 entries 2019 and 117 entries 2018). The Finnish organiser does expect more entries the coming days when a new travel restriction policy has been stated by the Finnish government.

Finland has recently announced that they are opening borders to countries based on numbers of the new Covid-19 cases. If there are more than 8 new Covid-19 cases per 100 000 people during the previous two weeks, then people coming from those countries are required to be in self-quarantine for 14 days.

Starting on the 13th of July entry by residents of the following countries are allowed: Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Ireland, Hungary, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Previously allowed countries were: Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Also for a number of countries outside of Europe traveling is allowed i.e. Australia, China, New Zealand and Japan among others. The next decision about new allowed countries will be  made in two weeks and that decision would be in effect on 27th of July and therafter it is expected that more countries will follow.

Some of the big MTB Orienteering countries are not on this list but are still registered for the event. Athletes from these countries will need to be in self-quarantine when arriving in Finland to be able to compete.

– The majority of feedback we have from athletes, at least in Europe, is that they are now able to train and compete at a local level which allows adequate preparation for an event like the European MTBO Championships. The difficulty is that there is still a minority that will not be able to participate for various reasons related to Covid-19. Knowing that full participation is not possible has made this a difficult decision. But we need to start somewhere and there seems to be strong support for the event in the MTBO community, says Tom Hollowell.

– This is great news. We are really relieved to be out of the uncertainty and can now carry forward with our preparations for the event, says event director Kari Kokkinen.

More information about the event and registered athletes can be found on IOF Eventor:

European MTB Orienteering Championships

European Junior MTB Orienteering Championships

World Masters MTB Orienteering Championships