Sweden, Finland to miss World Cup events over COVID fears

By Philip O'Connor
·1 min read

By Philip O'Connor

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden and Finland have followed Norway's lead and pulled out of the upcoming World Cup events in Dresden, Germany and Davos, Switzerland over fears that the COVID-19 protocols in place do not offer enough protection.

Following last weekend's competition in Ruka, Finland, the Norwegian team announced on Tuesday that it was pulling out of the last two World Cup events of 2020. They were followed on Wednesday by Nordic neighbours Sweden and Finland.

"In Ruka, we unfortunately found that the attitude towards the coronavirus varies remarkably from person to person. The planned bubble did not work," Maarit Valtonen, chief physician for the Finnish Olympic Committee, said in a statement.

Her sentiments were echoed by Per Andersson, team doctor for Sweden, in a statement announcing that they too would skip the two events.

"As things look at the moment we cannot create an infection-free route to and from Davos or Dresden. If things go badly the disease can potentially have serious consequences for an infected person. None of us involved are prepared to take that risk," he said.

The decision of three of the top nations in the sport to stay at home has been met with criticism from the International Ski Federation (FIS), which arranges the World Cup.

"We need solidarity. If it's not given it's going to be hard to find (competition) arrangers in the future," FIS marketing director Juerg Capol told Swedish broadcaster SVT.

"Of course all nations must make their own decisions. The problem is not that they can not get to the competitions, but that they themselves have chosen not to go there," he added.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Christian Radnedge)