Softball Australia and its Member States and Territories have regretfully come to the joint decision to cancel the U14, U16 and U18 National Championships scheduled to occur from 10-18 April, 2021.
After a comprehensive discussion involving all Member States and Territories, it was agreed to make the decision well in advance to avoid a significant financial shortfall should any state fall back into government restrictions in regard to travel and team sports.
Nationwide, there are varying guidelines on how state governments react to COVID-19 outbreaks, making it difficult to guarantee the tournaments will take place without disruption at the various venues across the country.
For example, in the instance an outbreak occurs in the lead up to, or during the tournament, there is a strong possibility participants including athletes, staff, umpires and scorers would be required to isolate upon return to their home state for 14 days, this would be at the cost of each participant.
This would also lead to participants taking a further two weeks off school and/or employment on top of tournament week.
Furthermore, given travel would need to be booked while the Pandemic status is still in place, insurance would not cover any funds lost due to event cancellations, leaving both participants and Member States and Territories significantly out of pocket.
As always, participant safety is absolutely paramount and combined with the financial implications, both Softball Australia and Member States and Territories agree the sensible course of action is to confirm the events’ cancellation as early as possible in order to provide assurance to all participants and stakeholders.
To provide certainty to Member States and Territories and allow them to plan their own calendars, these events will not be rescheduled to later dates in 2021. Softball Australia is planning to run the next edition of junior National Championships in January 2022.
Softball Australia are currently discussing and evaluating what the 2021 Junior National Squads and Programs will look like due to the cancellation of the Championships. This will be communicated to all stakeholders, including athletes, as soon as possible.
Softball Australia and Member States and Territories have committed to making a decision on the viability of the U23, Over 35 National Championships, and International Friendship Series (all scheduled for July) by mid-March, 2021.
The current situation is unprecedented and Softball Australia would like to assure the softball community that the decisions around events in 2020 and 2021 have been made in the best interest of our players, coaches, officials and volunteers at all levels.