IWBF Europe have postponed the Men's Under-23 European Championship ©IWBF Europe

International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) Europe has announced the postponement of the Men's Under-23 European Championship due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally scheduled to take place in January, it has been decided to move the event to a later date after an agreement with the hosts, the Italian Wheelchair Basketball Federation (FPIC).

Places at the IWBF Men's Under-23 World Championship, scheduled for Chiba in Japan next year, are on offer through the tournament.

"The IWBF Europe Executive Council has continued to watch closely the situation of the coronavirus pandemic over the past months," said IWBF Europe President, Walter Pfaller.

"In many parts of Europe, we begin to see positive signs and we are pleased to see some nations are cautiously returning to play wheelchair basketball when the time is right for them.

"It is still an uncertain situation and, in many places, still we experience restrictions on travel, sport and gatherings.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IWBF has also previously cancelled the EuroLeague ©IWBF
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IWBF has also previously cancelled the EuroLeague ©IWBF

"IWBF Europe's focus remains to protect the health and well-being of athletes and international technical officials.

"The Executive Council of IWBF Europe, in discussion with the FPIC, has carefully considered how this impacts the plans for the Men's Under-23 European Championship which was planned for January 2021.

"With an unpredictable situation still in Italy, where many Government restrictions on travel and playing sport are still in place, and with further uncertainty about the impact of coronavirus in the winter months, the Executive Council has agreed to postpone the Championships.

"This is a difficult decision and we remain committed to providing international competition for young wheelchair basketball players.

"Any decision to postpone a competition is not easy but at this stage we make it to protect the health of our athletes and technical officials in unprecedented times."

IWBF events have been affected by the virus, including the inaugural 3x3 Open World Championships which were cancelled in February.