Following the Victorian Government’s announcement on the extension of lockdown in metropolitan Melbourne through 11:59pm on Thursday 10 June 2021, Baseball Australia confirmed the Victorian Little League teams will be unable to travel to Lismore for next week’s 2021 Australian Little League Championship.
The decision to withdraw Southern Mariners and Twins from the national event was made to protect the health and wellbeing of all participants given ongoing restrictions for Victorians travelling interstate and residents of other states coming into contact with Victorians.
Current lockdown protocols in Victoria prevent any non-essential travel, and NSW border restrictions would require Victorians to follow these protocols while in NSW, preventing the teams from leaving their hotel to participate in community sport. In addition, border restrictions from other states include testing and self-isolation requirements for returning residents who have come into contact with Victorians.
The risks associated with the increasing outbreak in Victoria and the potential for the situation to escalate during the event also puts all other attendees at a risk that cannot be adequately mitigated.
Baseball Australia chief executive Glenn Williams said it was disappointing for the Victorian players, parents and officials but said the teams had been understanding of the possibility they would not be able to take part.
“It’s unfortunately not the outcome we were hoping for and our thoughts are with everyone impacted by the lockdown,” Williams said. “The teams and Baseball Victoria have been really understanding of the challenges facing their ability to compete, even had the lockdown lifted.
“We can only begin to imagine how challenging a period this has been with the impact on their day-to-day life and so much uncertainty. We’ve waited as long as possible to give them every chance of competing.”
Williams said postponing or cancelling the event a week out was not a feasible option.
“Both of those options would have impacted 16 other teams and presented a huge task logistically,” he said. “The uncertainty over when Victoria’s lockdown will end, and risk of future outbreaks elsewhere, also presents a number of challenges if we were to postpone the tournament.”
Baseball Victoria remains committed to player safety during this challenging time.
“We understand how difficult and disappointing this is for our players and team staff, coming so close to the national event and then being unable to attend,” Baseball Victoria CEO Kristie Middleton said. “These unfortunate circumstances are out of our control and we need to do what’s best to protect our athletes and their families, as well as all the participants from across the country. We are here to support our Little Leaguers and look forward to delivering exclusive baseball experiences in the future in partnership with Baseball Australia and the Melbourne Aces.”
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