Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, home to number of major national and international aquatics competitions over the past decade will remain closed indefinitely.
Having played host to the Elite Junior Diving Championships last year, and scheduled to host that event and the British Para-Swimming International Meet in 2020, it is sad day for aquatics sport that another major venue is unable to reopen at this time.
With the government announcing pools in England could reopen from 25th July, many remain closed due the financial limitations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact Ponds Forge follows in the wake of the Plymouth Life Centre, which announced last month that it would remain closed until April next year.
As well as hosting major events, the Sheffield venue is home to swimming, diving and water polo clubs, as well as being a key public swimming venue.
Andrew Snelling, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Trust, commented on the fact that Ponds Forge was one a handful of Sheffield’s sporting venues unable to reopen at this point:
“The financial implications of the pandemic have meant that as an organisation we've been forced into making some really difficult decisions. We appreciate that there will be some disappointment regarding which facilities are open, and particularly that Ponds Forge is unable to reopen immediately.
"Ponds Forge regularly hosts mass participation sporting events and non-sporting competitions as well as conferences, exhibitions, awards ceremonies and banquets. These provide significant revenues that support the vast running cost the venue has. Due to coronavirus, unfortunately, these events are unable to go ahead for the foreseeable future.
“We are working closely with our sporting and event partners to accommodate their requirements, where possible, across our other venues.
“It’s important to reiterate; we have no plans to close down Ponds Forge permanently. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and look to open more facilities across our estate as soon as is practical and reasonable to do so."
Of the news, British Swimming Chief Executive, Jack Buckner, added:
“It goes without saying that this is terrible news for everyone involved with aquatics sports at all levels. We all understand the impact that this closure will have on both the aquatics community of Sheffield and the general public who use the facilities and work in them, and so we will work with Sheffield City Trust to find ways to ensure aquatic sports continue to flourish in the city.
"Everyone at British Swimming hopes it is not long before exciting events like the British Para-Swimming International Meet are taking place at Ponds Forge once more, and we look forward to that time.”