U19 World Cup: Antigua plans to allow fully vaccinated fans into venues for matchesFriday, December 03, 2021
ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC) – When Antigua hosts the Super League segment of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 Men's Cricket World Cup 2022, starting next month, the plan is for fully vaccinated fans to be allowed inside venues.
This according to the island's Sports Minister Daryll Matthew. The minister said that could change depending on the COVID-19 developments in the country, given the emergence of the new Omicron variant.
“As it is now, the intention is to allow fans who are vaccinated access to the venues for the matches,” Matthew said at the ceremony for the official Host Venue Announcement, held at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Thursday. “However, we are facing uncertain times with the emergence of a new variant, so that decision will be taken as we get closer to the time where matches will be hosted in Antigua and Barbuda and we will continue to work with the Ministry of Health to advise us and guide us accordingly.”
The Under-19 Men's Cricket World Cup will be held in the Caribbean for the first time, from January 14 to February 5, 2022, with Antigua and Barbuda set to host the quarterfinals, semi-finals and the title-decider. Matches will be held at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (SVRS) and Coolidge Cricket Ground, starting January 26.
Touting Antigua and Barbuda's track record of hosting world-class cricket, Matthew promised that the country will stand tall in hosting the tournament. He upheld the twin-island nation as an excellent example in safely hosting international sport.
“Throughout the year, we demonstrated our ability to stage events and do it well. The CG Insurance Super 50 tournament, we successfully hosted the entire event. The Sri Lanka (men's) tour – we delivered. We successfully hosted a Pakistan (women's) tour as well as the South Africa women's tour – we delivered. And a few weeks ago, we successfully hosted the ICC Americans tournament – we delivered.”
“And so, this tournament with the Under-19s…will once again be a demonstration of our ability to successfully host and to do it so very well,” Matthew continued.
Johnny Grave, CEO of Cricket West Indies (CWI), echoed Matthew's sentiments, noting that while putting on any event in the pandemic is a massive challenge, CWI has withstood the test.
“This is an extremely exciting event for us and culminates an unbelievable year of cricket, particularly in Antigua and Barbuda where we've hosted…more cricket in the last ten months, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, than ever before,” he said citing the West Indies as a prime cricket destination. “We welcomed more international teams in both our men's and women's sports as well as the inaugural women's A Team series that we hosted here against Pakistan in the summer.”
Grave also took the time to praise the persons who continue to work behind the scenes to make sure cricket keeps going strong during the difficult times.
“I want to thank probably a group of people that don't get thanked enough – and that's the ground staff here at the Stadium and at Coolidge Cricket Ground – for the amount work that the ground staff put in, not just to produce good quality wickets for the matches but for the important preparation of our teams, both the visiting teams and also the West Indies teams. [It] has been second to none. They have worked morning, noon and night; weekends, bank holidays, in order to allow us to play cricket in this country,” he said.
Apart from Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and St Kitts and Nevis will host the matches in the 14th edition of the tournament in which Bangladesh are defending champions.