For the first time in 39 years, there will be no Nations Cup of soccer in Richmond this summer.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the tournament’s committee made the difficult decision on the weekend to cancel one of the city’s signature summer amateur sporting events.
Usually headquartered at Hugh Boyd in the third weekend of July, the event has, since 1979 (with one vacant year in 1980) attracted the best amateur soccer players of all ages to represent the nation of their birth or roots in a World Cup-style format.
Thousands of soccer fans representing B.C.’s rich diversity of culture have flocked to Richmond every year for a veritable feast of the “beautiful game.”
However, such is the case with major events locally, provincially and across the nation, fears and subsequent restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19 have made it impossible to host.
“We feel it's best for all involved,” Jeff Wilson, Nations Cup president, told the Richmond News.
“In making this difficult decision, the tournament committee convened on several occasions during the spring as the pandemic grew to impact sporting events and large gatherings.
“The committee relied predominantly on the information and guidance from the federal and provincial governments and their respective public health authorities, as well as the City of Richmond and BC Soccer.
“With the health and safety of players, spectators, volunteers, vendors, and suppliers in mind, it became increasingly apparent that enforcing necessary social distancing guidelines would simply not be possible.
“Adding to the disappointment, an inaugural Youth Nations Cup Tournament was to be held this summer, but it too has been cancelled due to the pandemic.”
The significance of the decisions, added Wilson, is “not lost on the committee members as several of us have been attending and/or participating in this tournament since its inception.
“Needless to say, it was with a heavy heart that we reached this decision late last week.”