Elba Jeux des Iles scrapped 28 days before opening ceremony
SPORTING officials across Europe are hastily hunting for new Jeux des Îles travel arrangements following the relocation of the international event with just one month’s notice.
The 15-sport annual junior festival was due to be staged in Elba from 21-25 May, but organisers announced yesterday that hosting duties have been transferred to Corsica due to financial restrictions.
Jersey made a return to the ‘youth Island Games’ last year – having missed the event from 2013-15 and in 2017 – and were planning to send a six-strong table tennis squad to the Italian region.
Hugh Raymond, Jersey’s general team manager, said: ‘So many people from across Europe have booked to go to Elba. There are financial commitments across the board but the government has just withdrawn the money.
‘Elba is like the Isle of Wight in a way – it’s part of Tuscany like the Isle of Wight is part of Hampshire, so it’s not Elba withdrawing, it’s the Italian government.
‘We haven’t decided what we’re going to do, but we’ve had to pay the affiliation fee of 3000 euros and the organisers would love to see us there. They want representation from Jersey, however small.’
Raymond’s JDI team are now weighing up options for late bookings as they attempt to get the Island’s table tennis players to Corsica – an effort boosted by the fact that no flights had been confirmed for Elba.
‘We’ve been so lucky,’ Raymond said.
‘It was only decided the week before last that our other sports couldn’t go because of the cost [athletics, swimming, gymnastics, sailing, tennis], so we hadn’t booked anything. But the plane tickets had dropped in price and we were ready to book this week for the table tennis team.
‘If we’d had a team of 30 and booked early, God knows what would have happened.’
Raymond added that while travel links to Corsica are more affordable, it is unlikely officials from other sports will now reconsider.
‘Because it was in Elba ... even using travel agents it was nigh on impossible
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to get there,’ he said. ‘So we were just sending a table tennis team, as they had agreed to go.
‘I think it’s too late for the other sports now. It’s the week before half-term and our biggest problem every year is that all the kids are doing their GSCEs.’
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