European Karate Federation President Antonio Espinós, right, lead the meeting ©WKF

The Executive Committee of the European Karate Federation (EKF) has agreed to postpone the 2021 EKF Cadet, Junior and Under-21 Championships in Tampere in Finland due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Initially scheduled to be held from February 12 to 14, it has now been pushed back to August 20 to 22 next year - just weeks after the expected conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

A referee course at the event is now set to take place from August 17 to 19.

This decision was made due to the impact of coronavirus in Finland and other European nations, and followed a consultation with local authorities and organisers.

The Executive Committee meeting, headed by EKF and World Karate Federation President Antonio Espinós, also examined the flagship 2021 European Karate Championships in Gothenburg in Sweden.

Due to the pandemic, the financial viability of the event has been seriously affected, the Executive Committee heard.

It is due to run from May 16 to 21.

No decision has yet been made on whether or not the tournament can go ahead, with further evaluation of the options to take place.

Numerous karate event have been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic ©Getty Images
Numerous karate event have been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic ©Getty Images

"I am very encouraged by the level of engagement and solidarity that was expressed by the Executive Committee members today," Espinós said.

"The Executive Committee members and the representatives of the European National Federations were united in emphasising the importance of organising EKF major events to further strengthen Karate in the continent. 

"We must continue delivering high-quality events, as we have done over the past years, to maintain our status of first-class sport in Europe, even more so considering the current global crisis."

Karate events have been hit hardby the COVID-19 pandemic, with the European Karate Championships for 2020 - scheduled in Azerbaijan's capital Baku - called off due to the virus.

The 2020 Karate World Championships were pushed back to 2021 because of the pandemic.