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By Neto Baptiste

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Leon Rodney, said if allowed to host the annual Cool & Smooth T20 Explosion, he would push for the inclusion of some amount of spectators into the grounds during match days.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Rodney said that given the size of the proposed venue, the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, he is of the opinion that a limited number of spectators could safely be seated and monitored throughout matches.

“Playing some local cricket matches, how much spectators you’re really going to get from a local standpoint except for the Cool & Smooth and if you were to ask me; if we were allowed to do the Cool & Smooth if I would allow people into the grounds, I would say yes. Once you control it and you police it properly because you can’t full the Vivian Richards stadium, so which better place in Antigua to have social distancing watching any kind of sport other than the Viv Richards stadium? It’s a massive stadium,” he said. 

Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, said last week that it was highly unlikely that permission would be granted for the staging of any competition including the Cool & Smooth T20.

Rodney, whose association had made a formal request to both the Ministry of Health and the sports ministry for consideration to host the tournament, is not convinced that competitive sports, once done properly, would pose a huge threat where possible spreading of the coronavirus is concerned.

“Once the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Health would have made up their minds, then you would have no alternative but to live with it, but obviously, I have my thoughts about it and I am sure it is quite ok for me to share those thoughts,” he said.

“I believe that in organised tournaments, the environment could be quite safe. I am not sure that we have too many cases in Antigua but I would simply say to you that once you have opened hotels, churches, nightclubs, bars, casinos and so forth, then to be honest, I am no longer convinced that organised tournaments can’t go ahead,” he added.

The cricket boss said that individuals going about their daily routines are probably more at risk of contracting and or spreading the virus that those competing in a structured and controlled setting.

“If you don’t want to believe what I am saying to you is that when it comes to social distancing an all of that and the safety of individuals, I would invite you to take a walk down the bottom of Market Street on a Friday afternoon. I would also invite you to the public market on a Saturday morning and you tell me if you would be satisfied that if the virus ought to be spread more than what it is, if these areas that I’ve just suggested to you would be assisting you in not spreading the virus,” he said. Matthew had said that a formal decision on the association’s request would be made by the end of August.

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