Dubai, May 7 (MNN) The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday announced that three ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Sub-Regional Europe qualifiers — pathway tournaments to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia — have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
Finland was set to host their first ICC event with the Sub-Regional Europe A and B qualifiers starting next month.
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Sub-Regional Europe B Qualifier was due to be hosted between June 30 and July 5 involving the hosts, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Luxembourg and Sweden.
The A qualifier was scheduled to start three days later with Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Israel, Italy, Malta, Norway, Spain all competing until July 13.
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Sub-Regional Europe C Qualifier — which Belgium was due to host between July 5 and 10 — involved Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Isle of Man, Portugal, Romania, Serbia.
Italy, Germany, and Denmark will now qualify from the Europe Sub-Regional Qualifiers A, B and C respectively, determined by their position in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Team Rankings as on April 30, 2020. They will now join Jersey in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Europe Qualifier scheduled to take place in Spain between October 15 and 21, 2021, with two qualifier spots up for grabs in the A or B global qualifiers.
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier, two steps away from Australia and due to be hosted in Canada between July 17 and 23, 2021 involving the hosts, Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Panama and the US, has been postponed due to government and travel restrictions.
New dates and host country will be confirmed in due course.
The Asia B Qualifier, which is also two steps away from Australia 2022 and was due to be hosted in Malaysia between 11 and 17 July 2021 involving Bhutan, China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Hong Kong and Thailand, has also been postponed.
It is now scheduled to be played between November 9 and 15, 2021 in Malaysia.
The decision was taken to postpone due to extensive quarantine requirements in Malaysia and for the visiting teams on their return to their respective countries.
In addition, the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier hosted by Malaysia has new confirmed dates of November 22-28, 2021. Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Myanmar, Nepal, Malaysia and the UAE are all set to compete, with the date change allowing Malaysia to host both events back-to-back.
The cancellation came as over half of the countries are still facing significant restrictions on free movement and extensive quarantine periods for players returning to their home countries, as well as domestic restrictions in place that prevented teams from selecting and preparing squads for the tournaments.
Full approval from the Belgian government for the staging of the event based on the Bio-Safety Mitigation strategies proposed by the ICC was also not obtained.
With the three events taking place at the start of the pathway which are three steps away from the World Cup, all tournaments had to be completed by the end of July 2021 to logistically enable the Europe Qualifier currently scheduled for October 2021 to take place, therefore providing no available opportunity to reschedule the events.
ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley, said: “We have unfortunately had to cancel the three ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Sub-Regional Europe Qualifiers… as part of the ICC’s comprehensive contingency planning process we have been working continuously with the hosts, participating members and all stakeholders to maximise the opportunity for qualification to be determined on the field of play.
“However, due to COVID-19 restrictions and the short timelines that the European season provides to allow us to progress with the next step in the pathway, there has been no other option than to cancel.”