Softball Australia can confirm a decision has been made together with Member States and Territories to not contest the Under 23, Over 35s Men’s and Women’s National Championships and International Friendship Series which were scheduled to occur in the June / July 2021 period.
The decision has been made well in advance to avoid a significant financial shortfall should any state fall back into government restrictions in regard to travel and team sports.
The latest outbreak of COVID-19 in Queensland has again re-affirmed various state governments will not hesitate to impose tough restrictions on both visiting and returning travellers.
This presents too great a risk financially to both Member States/Territories and participants with insurance unable to cover cancelled flights and accommodation whilst COVID-19 is classified as a pandemic.
In addition, Softball Australia and Member States/Territories are not in a position to assist in possible hotel quarantine costs which would be a significant cost to returning travellers, as well as the possibility of two weeks away from work and/or school.
The next edition of each of the U23 Men’s and U23 Women’s National Championships will be played in the December 2021 / January 2022 period. Dates and venues for these events, and all National Championships to be played in that period, will be announced next week.
The inaugural Over 35 National Championships will be played in 2022. The venue and dates for the event will be confirmed at a later date.
“We certainly sympathise with the softball community following the announcement of more event cancellations in 2021,” said Softball Australia Chief Executive Officer, David Pryles.
“Our main priority is the health and wellbeing of our participants, but also their own financial security along with our Member States and Territories.”
“We are simply not in a position to go ahead with these events with the threat of snap border closures still looming.”
In order to keep players on the High Performance Development pathway through the Aussie Diamonds program, Softball Australia are well underway in planning state-based camps in the July school holidays for players selected in those U15 and U17 squads who will miss out on the International Friendship Series experience.
The two-day camps will provide a similar experience to what Aussie Diamonds representatives would have experienced in the tournament in a high-performance environment.
“Our High Performance and Pathways team has been working closely with Member States and Territories to ensure players identified through the Aussie Diamonds program still get a taste of a high performance environment,” added Pryles.
“These details will be communicated directly with those players in the coming weeks.”