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By Neto Baptiste

Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew said it is highly unlikely that permissions will be granted for the staging of any competition, including the proposed Cool & Smooth T20 Explosion.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Matthew said that although the ministry had informed the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) that a decision will be made at the end of the month regarding the request, the chances of permission being granted to stage the event are slim.

“I’ve been speaking to Kuma [Leon Rodney] and he actually sent us a formal letter about a week ago and I did tell him to give us until the end of August, end of this month where we can look to see if it’s going to happen, but at this point I think that it is highly unlikely that will take place. We see what’s happening up and down the islands as it relates to outbreaks taking place, countries are closing back down and we do not want to end up in that situation where we drop our guard and then something happens,” he said.

In late June, head of the cricket association, Leon Rodney, revealed the body had written to the proper health and sports authorities seeking permission to host the annual tournament starting in October and climaxing in early November with the finals on the day of the Independence Food Fair.

Matthew said it is also unlikely there will be a return of competitive sports in the near future.

“Notwithstanding the fact that Antigua and Barbuda has been doing a good job in containing and ensuring there is no spread of the Covid-19 virus within our borders, there is unlikely to be any approval for or where mass gatherings can take place. There are persons who may say, ‘well it doesn’t have to be a mass gathering let’s do it without spectators’, but we just believe it opens up a can of worms that we are not prepared, from a health standpoint, to expose ourselves to at this point,” he said.

There has been no competitive sports in Antigua since March. The sports ministry had asked all associations and sporting bodies to halt all competitions following the announcement that the country had recorded its first case of the coronavirus. However, the government has since eased restrictions, allowing for some training and social recreational activities.

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