Northern Ireland Sports Forum deeply regrets the confirmation that Belfast will not be hosting the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games having originally been awarded hosting rights in September 2015.
NISF Chairperson Richard Johnson has said:
“NISF has worked very closely with the NI Commonwealth Games Council over the past two years to ensure preparations for 2021 would not be hampered due to funding concerns. The time has now come however for the Commonwealth Games Federation to ensure that the 2021 Youth Games is safeguarded and will now re-open the bidding process to secure a new host.
NISF shares the frustrations of NICGC, our members and the sporting public that what would have undoubtedly been the largest international multi-sport event Northern Ireland could ever host has now been lost. NISF recognises the support of a number of our elected representatives and in particular the Chair of the All Party Group on Sport and Physical Recreation Mike Nesbitt MLA. The absence of an NI Executive has meant the support required to ensure delivery for Belfast 2021 Youth Games has not been available.”
Executive Manager Ciaran Kearney outlined that changes are required to ensure future sporting events are secured:
“Questions now have to be asked of the Department of Economy and Tourism NI who took ownership of the Business Case for funding without any meaningful engagement with NICGC or other key stakeholders. We urge officials from both the Department and Tourism NI to sit down with NICGC officers to provide thorough and meaningful feedback on the bid process and assessment criteria.
We are also concerned that sporting events of this scale will never take place in Northern Ireland under the current practices and assessment criteria used by the Department and Tourism NI and this must be resolved. It is unfortunate that due to a lack of a functioning government, departmental committees are not in operation which would provide scrutiny and oversight to the work of civil servants who are making these decisions.
Our next generation of athletes who were aspiring to represent Northern Ireland at a home Commonwealth Youth Games on their pathway to being elite performances will undoubtedly be feeling let down with this outcome.”
For further comment please contact Ciaran Kearney on 028 903 83825 or email firstname.lastname@example.org