The U18 Men’s and Women’s World Championships will be cancelled after the withdrawal of Switzerland and further uncertainties as well as financial imponderables for the organizer. This was announced today by the International Fistball Association (IFA) in coordination with the organizing committee in New Zealand. “I feel most sorry for the athletes,” says IFA President Jörn Verleger.

7 teams each registered on time for the U18 World Championships (alphabetical order): Australia, Austria, Germany, India, New Zealand, Samoa, Switzerland.
Brazil and Chile stated in writing that they could not send teams to this World Championships for financial reasons. Argentina tried to get financial support from different sides, but in the end did not register for the World Championship.

After the publication of the participating nations, Switzerland withdrew its registrations. Germany and Austria discussed the sporting sense of the event but reconfirmed their participation. In the end, the deciding factor was that due to the lower number of participants, the total financing collapsed as additional uncertainty concerning the participation of Samoa arised.

“We understand the reasons put forward by our member federations and the organizer in New Zealand. The cancellation of the U18 World Championships only brings losers: federations, athletes, coaches and our sport in general. The young players are our future, so I am very sad for all of them who will lose ‘their’ World Championships and probably a once in a lifetime experience,” says IFA President Jörn Verleger.

“I would like to thank the New Zealand Fistball Assocition and especially Vikki Buston and Blase Dowall for their efforts in the background to secure the event until the end and to organize a great fistball event.”

Moving the World Championships to Argentina or to another country on the same date was not an option

Christoph Oberlehner, IFA Secretary General, says: “From our point of view, it is not fair to the New Zealand Assocition and the Oceania members to move the event to Argentina or any other alternative venue, since the 2019 IFA Congress – the highest IFA body with all member associations – unanimously awarded the event to the New Zealand Fistball Assocition (NZFA).

“We are now working together with the European Fistball Association on a solution to offer an U18 competition in summer 2023 for the youth players in Europe. The next U18 World Championship will be held in 2024 or early 2025 where we have three potential hosts. The bidding process will end soon,” Oberlehner added.

“The U18 Men’s and Women’s World Championships in New Zealand should have been a very special event for the youth athletes. We are well aware that events such as the U18 World Championships pose major financial and organizational challenges for both the host and the participating nations – regardless of where the World Championships are held. However, these events are an integral part of the IFA calendar – and must remain so in the future,” said IFA Youth Commission Chairman Uwe Schneider.