IQA Backtracks on Selection of Richmond for World Cup 2020


Later this week, the IQA Board of Trustees is expected to walk back on an email sent to member NGBs last month informing them that the organization planned to host the 2020 World Cup in Richmond, Va.

The original email, sent on March 17 by IQA Board of Trustees Chair Luke Nickholds and obtained by our staff, informed NGBs that the IQA “expect(s) to hold World Cup 2020 in Richmond, Virginia, United States in early-to-mid July.” This was followed up by an email from IQA Board of Trustees Vice Chair Austin Wallace on April 1, one day after the IQA’s initial announcement deadline of March 31, announcing a further delay of the bid process and an inability to commit to Richmond. This delay in selection was also announced publicly by the organization through its website.

The IQA will not be releasing the location of World Cup 2020 in time to meet our deadline of March 31st,” Wallace wrote in the email on behalf of the Board of Trustees. “We are awaiting information from both remaining potential locations that affects the potential safety and suitability of each venue. Despite expecting to choose Richmond, without this information we are not comfortable making a final decision at this time.”

Now, according to a high-ranking NGB official familiar with the process, there are internal memos circulating announcing that the decision process has been revamped and that NGBs will have the opportunity to vote on whether the site of World Cup 2020 will be Richmond or the other city finalist: Getxo, Spain. There are currently 17 full member NGBs, though more are expected to be added by the time of the vote. The memo also mentions that the Board of Trustees still recommends Richmond over Getxo.

In the original March 17 email, Nickholds lays out a number of issues with the Getxo bid that helped lead the IQA Board to the initial decision of selecting Richmond.

“The pitches and facility are of a similar to lesser quality to the ones in Italy,” Nickholds wrote. “The furthest pitches are an approximately 15-minute walk apart, including with a road separating them…Because [sic] the bidding organization and Spanish NGB are stretched thin for resources, they only offered a structure where the IQA would lead the tournament planning with minimal local support…Given the spread out international nature of the IQA, as well as previous experiences with World Cup committees, we have concerns that we will not have the resources required to plan a successful tournament in Spain without adequate local support in the planning and running of the tournament.”

Nickholds does mention concerns with the Richmond bid in his initial email.

“The biggest of these [issues] is the impact of the location on team attendance, due to travel costs for some NGBs and visa issues for others,” he wrote. “We also know that it can get quite hot in Richmond in July and that the politics of the United States are less than desirable.”

While the River City Sportsplex in Richmond has never been used for quidditch, and is different than the complex in Richmond being used for the 2019 Pan-American Games and 2019 MLQ Championship, the facility has hosted events run by major organizations including FC Barcelona and the NFL.

The initial email also mentioned that the IQA intends to install a stay-and-play policy for all teams for the 2020 World Cup, which they acknowledge could increase attendance costs.

The Eighth Man reached out to the IQA for comment. The IQA declined to comment at this time but agreed to provide more details after public announcement of their decision.







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