The Luge World Championships in Whistler have been cancelled ©FIL

The International Luge Federation (FIL) is searching for a new host for the 2021 Luge World Championships after cancelling the scheduled event in Canada due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The FIL Executive Board and the Canadian Luge Association agreed to cancel the event on a video conference call, which also included representatives from the Whistler Sliding Centre.

The decision to cancel the event was made following guidance from Canadian medical and Government leaders.

Continued travel restrictions into Canada due to the coronavirus pandemic were cited as a key reason for the cancellation, with a 14-day quarantine currently required upon entry to the country.

The FIL is expected to decide on a replacement host in the coming weeks.

Action had been scheduled to take place in Whistler from February 5 to 7.  

"On behalf of the FIL Executive Board, I would like to thank the Canadian Luge Association for the enormous commitment in planning and fulfilling legal requirements for our anniversary World Championships," said Christoph Schweiger, FIL executive director.

"Unfortunately, a proper realisation of this major event is not possible under the given conditions and regulations."

The event was scheduled to be the 50th edition of the Championships.

The Whistler Sliding Centre previously hosted the Luge World Championships in 2013, where the host nation secured a silver and bronze medal.

The venue has also hosted numerous luge, bobsleigh and skeleton World Cups events and international development level races, as well as staging last year's Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships.

Travel restrictions in Canada were cited as a key reason in the decision to cancel the event ©Getty Images
Travel restrictions in Canada were cited as a key reason in the decision to cancel the event ©Getty Images

"The Whistler Sliding Centre is known by sliding fans as one of the best tracks in the world," said Tim Farstad, the Canadian Luge Association executive director.

"We were excited to bring the best in our sport back to Western Canada.

"However, over the past few weeks, we have had extensive meetings with all of our key stakeholders, and after weighing all of our options, it has been decided to press pause on hosting the FIL World Championships here in Canada.

"The biggest challenge we currently face is a 14-day quarantine for all foreign athletes coming into Canada, which we cannot guarantee will be lifted by February.

"As a result, the FIL informed us it will not be possible to host the event this year.

"This is very unfortunate news for our extremely passionate staff and volunteers who have worked so hard on this event, in addition to the entire Canadian luge team of athletes and coaches who were looking forward to having a World Championships in our own backyard.

"While our focus now is on doing our part to minimise the spread of COVID-19, it is our sincere hope that when our borders open for international travel, Canada will host a World Championships in Whistler where the fastest athletes on ice can once again put on an impressive display of sliding in front of a full track of spectators."