TTFA cancels international friendlies
With the best interest of the safety of players, staff members, officials and fans among all stakeholders the T&T Football Association (TTFA) and Canada Soccer Association have decided on Friday to cancel the two upcoming international friendlies between both countries scheduled to take place Langford, British Columbia, Canada on March 27 and March 31 as the world continues to grapple with the spread of COVID-19.
“Due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus and the impact it is having on countries, major events both sporting and other forms across the globe, we have decided, along with Canada Soccer, to cancel the upcoming international friendlies against Canada which were scheduled for Langford, British Columbia,” said TTFA president William Wallace.
“As major organisations are making difficult and complex health and risk management decisions about hosting or partaking in sporting events which involves travel and assembly of large crowds it became apparent to us that this was the most prudent course of action.”
The first of the two matches scheduled for Westhills Stadium was reported to be sold out according to that Canada Soccer Association.
“It is, of course, disappointing to us as we were anticipating both games, the first for our recently appointed head coach Terry Fenwick and critical towards our preparations for the Concacaf Gold Cup playoff in June. With that said, we are in the process of another plan of action to at least give our men’s team some form of preparation during the upcoming window. Of course, this is subject to the conditions due to COVID-19.”
TTFA shared that several overseas-based players have indicated that they will not be available to travel for the matches due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19 including Saudi Arabia-based midfielder Khaleem Hyland and Israel-based winger Levi Garcia.
T&T head coach Terry Fenwick said, “Obviously it’s disappointing that we will not be able to play these two matches but it is understandable under the circumstances as the safety of everyone involved is of utmost importance. We will continue to monitor the situation and work towards a plan that can see our team having an opportunity to work towards the qualifiers coming up.”
Football’s governing body, FIFA, has decided to cancel the next FIFA Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia scheduled for June 5 – September 18. It has also pushed back the coming FIFA Council meeting in Zurich, due to be on March 20, until June or July.
FIFA said in a statement: “Numerous international bodies and public health authorities have advised against the organisation of international events.”
Concacaf has also suspended matches in the Champions League.
The TTFA earlier today suspended all national eams training sessions until March 27 and have also cancelled all screening sessions for the Boys Under-14 and U-16 teams until further notice.
TTFA advised that it will continue to closely monitor all COVID-19 developments in consultation with the Ministry of Health and all relevant governing bodies through its medical committee.
<Pro League halts matches>
T&T Pro League has decided to cancel all matches as of this weekend until further notice. This comes on the heels of what is taking place nationally with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
The body cited that it has a responsibility to protect its players, technical staff, match commissioners, referees, dedicated media officers and the general public from any continuous spread of the virus.
The TT Pro League chief executive officer (CEO) Julia Baptiste said: “We must be responsible as a league. While we are not going to be in a state of panic or pandemonium, we have to be mindful of the multiplier effect of the virus and act in the best interest of all stakeholders and limit its spread as much as possible.”
Defence Force leads the 11-team standings with 42 points after 17 matches. The soldier/sailor combination unit enjoys a comfortable seven-point advantage on its closest rival Terminix La Horquetta Rangers on 35 points in 17 games, with Point Fortin Civic, multiple-times winner W Connection and Morvant Caledonia United securing third, fourth and fifth on the table, respectively.
<TTCB to continue with local cricket>
T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) will continue to host its local matches this weekend and will then assess the coronavirus situation this coming week before suspending cricket.
This statement was made by the president of the TTCB Azim Bassarath on Friday at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, San Fernando.
Bassarath said: “We at the TTCB is very concerned with what is going on in the country at the moment. We are going to keep a close eye on the weekend. We have regional cricket going on this weekend with T&T playing the Windwards and how then can we suspend local cricket. We want to continue this weekend and on Monday or Tuesday, we will make a further assessment.”
Today, there will be matches in the TTCB Premiership Division I and TTCB Premiership Division II, as well as Zonal cricket.
Bassarath said: “A number of clubs have been calling to find out what’s the situation and we are trying to keep things calm, so we are going to carefully continue to play the cricket and look at the situation here in Trinidad before we make a definite decision.”
There is also the TTCB Under-17 Interzone series on this coming Wednesday and Bassarath said that he would continue to urge the Interzone teams to continue their work but a decision as to whether they play the next round will be made in a couple of days.
“We are monitoring the situation and we are being guided by the government and the minister of health and we will make a decision after careful consideration.”
Guardian Media understands that Cricket West Indies (CWI) may suspend all four-day cricket after this current round. They are also expected to postpone the regional U-15 tournament carded for Antigua and also the regional women’s cricket series.
<T&T volleyball put on hold>
Late on Friday, the T&T Volleyball Federation (TTVF), due to the deadly virus, also halted all national team training sessions.
To ensure that no one from the volleyball fraternity is negatively affected by its events, actions and decisions, the executive has also suspended all developmental training sessions and all events planned by the TTVF and its affiliate clubs
The release added: “Please note that this is to be actioned with immediate effect until further notice.”
LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian