New Vaccination Mandate Forces Cricket Association To Abandon Competition Plans

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Leon Rodney
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By Neto Baptiste 

There will be no more competitive cricket for the remainder of 2021. 

This was revealed by President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Leon Rodney, who said the decision was reached following a “fruitful” meeting with member clubs during which the government’s new stipulation that all players are fully vaccinated before being allowed to compete was discussed.

“The meeting was very fruitful and there was a great understanding between the associations and clubs that the best thing to do, given the circumstances where the government is asking for everybody to be fully vaccinated that the best thing to do is to just call it for the rest of the year,” he said.  

Two Wednesdays ago, the Cabinet decided that all athletes wishing to take part in national competitions must first be fully vaccinated, having taken the required two doses of the available AstraZeneca vaccine. 

The decision, Rodney said, forced the cricket association to halt plans for a tournament scheduled to start later this month. 

The cricket boss also revealed that the association has written to the Ministry of Sports to put on record its concerns regarding the new stipulation. 

“It was also recommended by the clubs that we write to the ministry to find out why is it okay that especially on Saturday and Sunday mornings you have all these playing fields around the nation filled with people, and no one knowing anybody’s status or know who is tested, who is positive or who is negative and who’s vaccinated or not, but it is okay that they have a million people playing in non-organised sports, but in an organised setting where some level of testing takes place, you’re saying it’s not okay unless everybody is vaccinated; so we find it very counterproductive,” he said. 

In December last year, the cricket association was granted permission to host its 10 Splash Cricket tournament at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground. It was the first official competition held since there was an island-wide halt to all competition since March 2020. 

The ABCA, however, had its privilege revoked in March after spectators ran onto the field in Bethesda following that community’s triumph over Empire Nation during the final game of the Super 40 competition. 

Shortly following the newest stipulation however, the government had encouraged all associations to submit requests along with proposed protocols for the staging of competitions. 

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