PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER
After days of speculation and some hope the 2020 Henley Royal Regatta would continue as planned, the organizers announced the cancellation of the event Tuesday afternoon.
The event will not be postponed to a later date in the year.
The Committee of Management of Henley Royal Regatta pinned the cancellation on a number of factors including stricter government restrictions, financial implications of continuing to host the event, and the “health and wellbeing of participants.”
Course installation and the build-out of the site would have begun this week according to the official cancellation notice. General sale tickets were scheduled to go on sale April 1.
“The financial implications of cancellation will be significant indeed, not only for the Regatta, but for our contractors and suppliers, as well as for traders, local landowners and the Henley community too,” read the notice. “It is now our task to work diligently in the coming weeks to ensure that the Regatta, our suppliers and contractors can emerge safe and sound on the other side of this tumultuous period.”
This will be the third time the regatta has been canceled. The other two cancellations took place during WWI and WWII.
Sir Steve Redgrave, Chairman of the Committee of Management, expressed his appreciation of the rowing community and acknowledged the breadth of the decision.
“We appreciate that the cancellation of the Regatta will come as a huge disappointment to many involved in the sport of rowing, especially those whose seasons had been planned around Henley, and particularly given that event after event has been cancelled already this year,” Regdrave said in the Henley announcement. “However, no matter how passionate we are about our sport, we are also mindful that there are now more significant issues at stake than the staging of sporting events. In this context, it is our hope that all concerned will understand our decision.”
The 2021 Regatta will take place June 29 through July 4.