The intention to hold the World Championships came as a complete surprise to us and many of our sister federations since the FIPJP had announced the cancellation of the scheduled 2021 Championships in Switzerland (July 15th – 18th) earlier in the year. This was the second time this had been cancelled as it was originally set for July 2020.
It was apparently an approach by the Spanish Federation to the FIPJP offering the host the WC which led to a change in the decision and this was confirmed only in mid-July.
Separately, the European Triples Championships (EC) for Men scheduled for 23rd to 26th September 2021 were cancelled by the CEP and these will not be re-scheduled for 2022, meaning the tournament will be lost.
Our published document for international representation (issued April 2021) stated that should the WC be re-scheduled for 2021, then we would use our 2019/20 Men’s Squad for the selection. It also stated that the new 2021/22 Squad would be used for the selection for the EC.
Prior to the announcement of the reschedule of the WC, PE had completed its series of Squad Selection Events (SSE) at the end of June and had established the six-strong membership of the 2021/22 Squad.
Implementing our April 2021 international representation document would result in an outcome where Petanque England would not have sent the players that had demonstrated the best performance through the 2021 selection series but rather using a legacy Squad whose performance basis for selection was now two years old. The 2019/20 Squad had been given the opportunity to represent our country at the 2019 European Triples Championships in Bulgaria (where their bronze medal in the Nations Cup qualified England for the WC).
COVID-19 has had a massive impact on all sport worldwide and pétanque has been badly impacted with no international play under the auspices of the FIPJP and CEP since November 2019 when the Women’s and Youth WC took place in Cambodia and the EuroCup Finals took place in France. The ability for our top level players to compete, prepare and work together has been severely compromised.
The plans for the development of our 2019/20 Squad were not able to be implemented except for participation in one international event in Holland in early 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit us. The members of the 2019/20 Squad also did not play together as originally intended in the SSE competitions as it was decided at the time within the Squad that this was no longer a relevant or achievable requirement.
Taking everything into account and looking first and foremost at going to the WC with the most competitive and well-prepared team (the 2021/22 Squad have been playing together in various competitions since SSE was concluded and all six members are available for selection where the members of the 2019/20 Squad are not), we have taken the decision to use the 2021/22 Squad as the basis for the WC Selection.
We regret very much that the 2019/20 Squad will not now get the opportunity which they would have had in Switzerland had the COVID-19 pandemic not resulted in cancellation in both 2020 and 2021. This was not an easy decision, but one which we concluded was the best in the unexpected and exceptional circumstances we faced.
PE Lead Member for Men
PE National Coach for Men