By Neto Baptiste
After almost two years of no on-field activity by associations in Antigua and Barbuda because of the Covid pandemic, the sporting fraternity can breathe a sigh of relief as they have been given the green light to host competitions as of November 22.
Cabinet yesterday announced a return to competition as of Monday with spokesperson, Melford Nicholas, crediting current epidemiological conditions for the decision.
“The Minister of Sports [Daryll Matthew] yesterday [Wednesday] did raise the requirement and we indicated to him that, yes, the epidemiological conditions do favour a return to competitive sports and of course, the overall vaccination situation in the country does favour that as well and so we have given a general agreement that he should proceed with that type of engagement [with] he, having indicated earlier, that he has been approached by a number of the national associations,” he said.
In March last year, government halted all competitions after the country recorded its first case of the virus. Since then, only a handful of sports to include cricket and cycling have staged successful competitions.
Nicholas said permission will be granted based on already established protocols.
“There were protocols that were previously agreed earlier in the summer and late last year as well so that is going to be the starting point for the engagement and for them to make determination as for the safest environment by which these things can be done,” he explained.
“There are protocols that have already been agreed with the associations in previous situations of earlier openings and so they are going to go back and start from that standpoint. Provided the epidemiological conditions continue into the New Year, we are expecting that there should be some useful sporting events that will take place,” Nicholas added.
According to the established rules, all players taking part in competitions must be fully vaccinated while fans entering the grounds must also be fully jabbed.
Last week, President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Leon Rodney, revealed he had written to the government requesting permission to host a December tournament.