By Neto Baptiste
PCR Covid testing and the creation of weekly bubbles are just two of the requirements that the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) is being asked to meet before being granted permission to host its Sir Richie Richardson U17 Cricket Tournament starting early July.
This is according to president of the association, Leon Rodney, who said that although talks are ongoing between his association and the health authorities, they were recently told that players must be tested while the creation of weekly bubbles for players was also recommended.
“From where I am sitting right now, it doesn’t look too good because they are now talking about PCR testing and as I speak to you right now I am responding to an email from them [health authorities] so I don’t know what is going to happen to this under-17 stuff. We are trying but it seems to be getting complicated,” he said.
“We just simply let them know that we would want to go through the same protocols we did in terms of testing people for temperature and so forth because we never expected, especially knowing they are youths and they do not require vaccination. We said to them that we are not inviting any vendors, we are not inviting any spectators but they are even recommending to create a bubble,” he added.
However, Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew sought to reassure both Rodney and the public that the goal is for all to work together in finding the best possible way forward. He also said he is unaware of any discussions regarding a bubble for players being part of any recommendations he has seen.
“I am not sure [where] any discussions of any bubble is coming from but we are looking to see if we could accommodate as many events as possible given the circumstances we are facing. We have asked for [adults] to be fully vaccinated but if you are having a youth tournament, obviously we are not vaccinating children so an under-17 tournament would not be subject to that vaccination,” he said.
“It also doesn’t mean it is a free for all because the Ministry of Sports, under the advice of the doctor that has been assigned to us, would like to get some clarification on how this tournament is to take place and that is all that’s happening,” he added.
Last week, the cricket association revealed it had applied to host the youth tournament just one week after being forced to cancel all competition for the remainder of the year. The decision to cancel senior tournaments came on the heels of a Cabinet decision that all athletes competing in organised tournaments must first be fully vaccinated.