By Neto Baptiste
Antigua and Barbuda may never host another franchise team in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
This is according to the country’s Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, who said government has held recent talks with the owners of one franchise, but that the high cost associated with running the team is a major deterrent.
“One of the existing CPL teams or franchise owners contacted me about the possibility of Antigua taking over the team. They no longer had an interest in having the team based in that country. We had some discussions with them around February or March  to discuss the financial implications of having the team, which is part of the reason why they no longer wanted to host the team. It is just too expensive of an undertaking, both for the country and the franchise owner, to have the team,” he said.
Although Matthew did not reveal which of the CPL franchises he met with, sources have said that owners of the Jamaica Tallawahs have been in negotiations with a number countries as they are no longer interested in hosting the team.
Matthew said he did take the offer up the ladder for vetting and that financing was listed amongst the major concerns.
“I discussed it with the Prime Minister [Gaston Browne] at the time and he indicated that under these circumstances it is just not financially practical for us to take on a CPL team and the associated expenses that comes along with it. We looked at what’s happening next door in St. Kitts and there is a nice, feel good vibe and persons are going out to watch cricket and whatever. The national mood is on a high but behind the scenes someone has to pay those bills and we believe that initiatives like opening a university here in Antigua and Barbuda, we prefer to spend the money on things like that,” he said.
It was revealed in 2015 that the Antigua Hawksbills would not take part in the CPL after the government said it could no longer financially support the franchise.
It was also revealed in 2015 that the government still had an outstanding debt to the CPL to the tune of $200,000. Matthew, when asked, could not verify whether or not that debt had been paid.