World Cup races in Czech Republic cancelled

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PRAGUE (Reuters) - World Cup cross country ski races will not take place in the Czech Republic on Feb. 20-21 after COVID-19 restrictions in neighbouring Germany tightened, Czech organisers said on Saturday.

The decision came after Germany, which is due to host world championship races from Feb. 25 to March 7, tightened conditions for travellers from the Czech Republic, which has struggled to control one of Europe's highest infection rates of the novel coronavirus.

Under changes, participants in the Czech races scheduled for Nove Mesto would need to enter quarantine in Germany and would miss races. They were unlikely to get any exemptions, the Czech Ski and Snowboard association said in a statement.

"After talks with the International Ski Federation FIS we have decided the World Cup (event) next weekend in Nove Mesto will not take place," Czech association official Lukas Sacher said in the statement.

Organisers said they were discussing moving the event to March.

Earlier in the week, FIS cancelled various events in Norway, including the World Cup finals in cross country skiing that had been scheduled for March 12-14 due to tighter COVID-19 restrictions taking effect there.

(Reporting by Jason Hovet, editing by Pritha Sarkar)