The International Canoe Federation is considering a radical proposal to relocate the World Championships away from Portugal if it’s unable to host the event due to COVID-19.

The ICF’s Ocean Racing Committee has delayed a decision until the end of June, but in the meantime has drawn up a number of contingency plans if the event is unable to go ahead as planned.

This includes hosting the race, set down to run between September 3 and 6, in another country.

But The Paddler understands that option is unlikely to eventuate due to the logistical hurdles organisers would face on such short notice.

The committee is also considering whether to downgrade the event to ‘World Cup’ or ‘International’ status – an outcome that will be forced if nations are prevented from travelling to attend.

Crucial to this will be the restrictions enforced by Australia and South Africa, the two giants of surfski paddling.

Australians are currently banned from travelling overseas and its federal government recently indicated that position is unlikely to change until the end of the year.

South African borders are also closed, with suggestions they won’t reopen until February next year.

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The ICF Committee has agreed that eight weeks notice will be given to athletes if the Championships are to proceed, to try and allow for an adequate training preparation.

That would mean a decision must be made by July 9.

The cost for athletes is something that’s also being given considerable weight. The committee has suggested that the race won’t go ahead if it’s financially unrealistic for competitors.

The ICF has been contacted for comment on the issue.