By Neto Baptiste
A vast majority of associations and sporting bodies have shown interest in getting back to competition and have made submissions of their proposed protocols to both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Sports.
This was confirmed by sports minister, Daryll Matthew, who said that although some associations have not expressed an immediate desire to host any competitions, most have made efforts to have their protocols approved by the relevant authorities.
“I believe that there are some associations who really have no immediate plans to have any competitions and so they have not been forthcoming with the protocols. I know that swimming, tennis, golf, cricket of course, which was already approved and fencing have all submitted,” he said.
“I know swimming has been approved, golf has been approved and I think tennis as well have had their protocols approved by the Ministry of Health. Fencing, I wanted to have a discussion with their executive or with the president of fencing so that has an asterisk next to it. Sailing also submitted [their protocols],” he added.
Sports received a boost early in December with the return of cricket and the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association’s 10 Splash tournament. It is the first competition since a total lockdown of sports back in March after the country recorded its first case of the coronavirus.
Matthew said also that football has submitted protocols to the relevant authorities, adding that he sees no reason why the sport would not be able to make a return as well.
“Sports like football and cricket, which are international in their nature and how we operate here in Antigua and Barbuda, they fall within international associations that have been carrying out competitions for a few months now so they have the experience, they have the expertise and they a full knowledge of what to expect and what not to expect with the reopening of competitions so that is why cricket was able to proceed and that is why I am confident as well that football would be able to proceed,” he said.
In upcoming CONCACAF qualifiers scheduled for March next year, Antigua and Barbuda will contest Group A alongside El Salvador, Grenada, Montserrat and the US Virgin Islands.
The Benna Boys will face Montserrat on 24th March 2001 before taking on the US Virgin Islands three days later. The Benna Boys will then round off their group campaign against Grenada on April 6.