By Carlena Knight
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) Leon ‘Kuma’ Rodney has responded to critics who have accused the body of discriminating against unvaccinated athletes with the announcement of their upcoming competition.
The proposed Vax 8 tournament will be the first cricket competition since February when CUB Bethesda Golden Eagles captured the ABCA Super 40 title in Bethesda.
The December 18 and 19 competition is however only open for fully vaccinated players.
Rodney, while speaking on the Good Morning JoJo sports show on Friday, sought to explain that the protocols are not up to his organisation but are the law of the land.
He explained that he is not forcing anyone to do something they don’t want to, and clarified that the ABCA must follow the rules in place.
“Let me make it absolutely clear to the public: the ABCA is not telling you that you have to be vaccinated, we are telling you what the law of the country says and we have to abide by the laws of the country.
“Nobody is telling you to get vaccinated. They are telling you that if you want to play then you have to get vaccinated. So, you have a choice, get vaccinated and play or you stay unvaccinated and don’t play. It is your choice.
“We are just carrying out protocols and the protocols state that if you want to play competitive sports, then you have to be vaccinated,” Rodney said.
In March last year, government halted all sporting competitions after the country recorded its first Covid-19 case.
Since then, only a handful of sports to include cricket and cycling have staged successful competitions, while close contact team sports like basketball have been unable to host any events.
But earlier this month, Cabinet announced that all sporting events would be given the green light as of November 22.
According to the rules, all players taking part in competitions must be fully vaccinated while fans entering the grounds must also be fully jabbed.