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By Neto Baptiste

Sports minister Daryll Matthew said all associations are being encouraged to present their plans and protocols to the Ministry of Sports as the government pursues a phased return to competitive sports across Antigua and Barbuda.

His statement comes on the heels of news that the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) has received Cabinet approval to host competitions.

“I’ve asked all of the associations to first of all, get the protocols for their respective competitions and how the national federations and their international governing body are recommending that their sports be reopened, have them submit it to the Ministry of Sports and we will engage the Ministry of Health on that. If there is need for additional clarification then perhaps an audience could be sought directly,” he said.

The decision was made during Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting and followed a presentation from the sport’s regional governing body, Cricket West Indies (CWI) through its CEO, Johnny Graves.

Matthew said Greaves’ presentation strengthened the association’s call for a return to competition.

“Cricket West Indies and Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association and also the Leeward Islands Cricket Board, they came to the Cabinet [Wednesday] and not because of any influence or what not but CWI is a critical partner with the government of Antigua and Barbuda where cricket is concerned and so given that they are the regional governing body for cricket and given that he government has partnered with Cricket West Indies and invested in the Coolidge Cricket Ground, it represents and interest that the government has in cricket in the country that really cannot be overlooked,” he said.

“It is for that reason they were invited to come to cabinet to have a discussion to see how we can advance the reopening of cricket,” the sports minister added.

President of the cricket association, Leon Rodney, said plans are to host a tournament in December.

Last week, Rodney revealed that the country has lost an estimated one million US dollars in revenue due to the postponing and or cancellation of several tours and competitions that were scheduled for Antigua.

Expectations are that Antigua will bid to host a leg of the CWI Super 50 earmarked for January next year.

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