Rome (AFP)

The alpine ski world championships scheduled for February 2021 in Cortina d'Ampezzo (Italy) should be postponed until March 2022, after the Beijing Winter Olympics, said Italian President of the Olympic Committee Sunday evening.

"Tomorrow, the president of the Italian winter sports federation Flavio Roda will present to the leaders of the international federation his desire to postpone the Cortina Worlds from February 2021 to March 2022," said Malago on the Rai2 channel.

"It is a decision that I fully share and the Minister of Sports (Vincenzo) Spadafora has been informed," added the president of Coni.

"It is a very painful but common sense decision. It was taken because the federation guarantees many financial aspects. If there is a problem in October or November, we will not be able to make the Worlds in 2021" , added the Italian leader, referring to the coronavirus epidemic.

"The question is not how to organize the competition, but how to keep everyone safe, the athletes, the staff, the journalists, the supporters," he said.

"In 2022, there will be the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing (February 4 - February 20, 2022, editor's note). We should therefore have the Games first, then the Cortina Worlds," he concluded.

With more than 32,000 deaths according to the latest official report, Italy is one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus.

Cortina d'Ampezzo is a ski resort in the Dolomites, which hosts World Cup events every year. She is also with Milan host city of the 2026 Winter Olympics.

© 2020 AFP