By Neto Baptiste
A new Cabinet stipulation that athletes hoping to participate in national competitions must first be fully vaccinated, may force the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) to delay plans for the hosting of a tournament in the near future.
This is according to the body’s head, Leon Rodney, who revealed that the association was slated to meet with clubs this week with the hope of finalising plans and looking at possible start dates for the tournament.
“Given that we have been opening up the bars and restaurants … and given the size of the Sir Viv Richards cricket stadium, then you would tell me and convince me as to what can be so hard to allow fans or spectators to attend the matches. The ABCA would have done a 10 overs aside in December [last year] and you saw how it was done in terms of the testing of temperatures and the washing of the hands and the sanitisation and so forth,” he said.
Cricket was halted in early March this year after fans ran onto the field in Bethesda in celebration of their team’s last ball triumph over Empire Nation in the final of the Super 40 competition. Since then, there has been no competitive play in major team sports.
Rodney also questioned the reasoning behind a recent decision to deny a request by the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) to allow fans into the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground during Friday’s World Cup Qualifier against Grenada.
“A few weeks ago, after the meeting with all the heads [of sports associations], there was a question as to which association would want to move into tournaments within 90 days and obviously, you know cricket is always ready. We are due to have a meeting with all the clubs this Thursday [June 3] to identify a starting point. Unfortunately now, you get this [stipulation] that you cannot play competition unless everybody is vaccinated, so I am sure this is going to put a different twist on what we wanted to do,” he said.
Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew recently met with heads of all sporting associations in an effort to map the way back to major competitions. It was decided that association would write to the proper authorities seeking permission to host a specific tournament.