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No Competition Before Next Year: Nicholas Says Government Could Look At Possible Return To Competition In 2022

By Neto Baptiste 

The sporting fraternity here in Antigua and Barbuda may not see a return to competition until 2022.

This is according to Cabinet spokesperson Melford Nicholas, made the disclosure during the body’s weekly press briefing held yesterday, revealing that the Cabinet had recent discussions with CEO of Cricket West Indies, Johnny Grave, who highlighted the negative impact of Covid 19 on the sport and its domestic programmes.

“We did hear from the CEO that one of the impacts they had seen in their programmes was the discontinuity that was caused because at the lower level, competitive engagement, competitive sports has been impacted by Covid so we expect that coming out of this, and as the New Year opens, and certainly it would be the season for cricket, I would know that, I imagine that Mr. Leon Rodney and members of the cricket association and all of the associated persons in the sporting fraternity would be able to look forward in the New Year to that type of engagement,” he said.

“Were I them, I would begin the process of engaging with the various sporting clubs and looking at initiating the various fixtures that would allow them to return to some degree of competitive sports in the New Year,” he added. 

Competitions were suspended in March of 2020 following the announcement of the first recorded case of the deadly virus here in Antigua.

The Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) in December that same year, was granted permission for the hosting of a 10-overs competition held at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium, and then the staging of its Super 40 competition which climaxed in February 2021.

Nicholas said that once restrictions on gatherings are further relaxed based on the vaccination rates going forward, the Cabinet could take a closer look at a return to competition.

“One of the areas we would have relaxed up until the last public advisory had been issued, the number of persons who had been permitted to be socially gathered was limited to 10, and we have expanded that now to 25. This is part of what we would expect as we move towards normalisation or a degree of normalisation when an adequate number of persons are fully vaccinated then all of these possibilities will come along with that,” he said.

Since the lockdown of competitions, individuals have turned their attention to hiking, walking and or jogging as a means of keeping in shape. The Antigua and Barbuda Cycling Federation has also managed to put on a number of competitive races throughout the last six to eight months.

The Ministry of Sports had also announced a suspension of all school competitions.

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