By Sukuoluhle Ndlovu
Three International Cricket Council Men’s T20 World Sub Regional Europe Qualifiers which were set for next month have been cancelled due to the Covid -19 pandemic.
The qualifiers are the pathway tournaments to the ICC Men’s World Cup 2022 in Australia.
This decision was made following extensive consultation with hosts, participating members, relevant governments, public health authorities and in line with the ICCs comprehensive contingency planning.
Over half of the countries involved are still under strict Covid-19 restrictions with long quarantine periods for returning players, as well as domestic restrictions in place preventing teams from selecting and preparing squads for the tournaments.
The ICC Head of events, Chris Tetley said, “we have unfortunately had to cancel the three ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Sub regional Europe qualifiers due to start next month as a result of the Covid -19 pandemic. As part of the ICC’s comprehensive contingency planning process we have been working continuously with the Hosts, participating Members and all stakeholders to maximize the opportunity for qualification to be determined on the field of play. However due to Covid -19 restrictions and the short timelines that the European season provides to allow us to progress with the next step in the pathway, there has been no other option than to cancel. I would like to thank Cricket Finland, the Belgium Cricket Federation and all participating Members for their collective support in coming to this decision.”
Cricket Finland Operations Director, Maija Scamans said the cancellation is a huge blow.
“While we fully appreciate the difficult current situation with the pandemic, this is still a huge disappointment to everyone at Cricket Finland and our partners. We firmly believe that the fantastic experiences gained through working with our key stakeholders on the process of preparation for a globally streamed event will benefit the future of cricket and hopefully result in Finland hosting another T20 World Cup Regional Qualifier event in the not too distant future,” he said.
The Belgium Cricket federation Host Tournament Director, Nick Compton said the tournament will be held once travel restrictions are relaxed.
“Although it is met with great disappointment, the Belgium Cricket Federation recognises the significant ongoing challenges presented by Covid -19 in organising international sporting events and support the ICC in its decision to cancel the upcoming qualifier. Belgium remains committed to hosting international cricket later in the summer and looks forward to welcoming countries again once travel restrictions are relaxed.”