After the Euro T20 Slam was cancelled just over two weeks out from its inaugural hosting in 2019, and despite a faint hope that the tournament may have been able to fit into a window next month, the 2020 version of the joint Ireland-Netherlands-Scotland sanctioned event has been officially postponed due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In announcing the news, organisers have expressed an ongoing commitment to the concept for a 2021 start.
With the uncertainty around the staging of the now-postponed Men’s T20 World Cup, as well as a myriad of challenges around health and safety measures, organisers had been discussing possible options to get the competition started in 2020 including playing all matches at Malahide, a reduced team and player pool, and a shorter competition.
After the Slam’s inaugural hosting was cancelled in 2019 just over a fortnight before the first ball was to be bowled, a Tri-series between Ireland, Netherlands and Scotland was organised. It was hoped the Slam may have been able to run in 2020 with a similar length of time to arrange, but organisers have now “run out of road”, according to Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive at Cricket Ireland, “particularly with the Irish Government’s recent decision to delay the next stage of relaxing its restrictions to August 10th.
“I believe we have made, and will continue to make, decisions that give the concept the best chance to succeed, including being prudent in not proceeding if the circumstances aren’t right. The three participating cricket boards have also made it clear that the competition must deliver on the original objectives of providing high-quality cricket experiences for our players – that is the reason we set out on this road initially. Even if it takes until the third time of asking, we still very much believe in the viability, purpose and interest in a European T20 franchise concept, and will continue to do our best to bring it to fruition,” said Deutrom.
Mr. Prashant Mishra, Woods Entertainment, the promoter behind both the Euro T20 Slam and the GT20 Canada, also reaffirmed organisers’ commitment to the Slam:
“We have been working hard behind-the-scenes with the Boards, sponsors and franchise owners to be in a position to launch our inaugural season. We also had several positive conversations of late with broadcasters around various parts of the world that would have given the event a truly global reach. We know the interest is there from broadcasters, and the commitment is there from organisers and sponsors – but the reality is that the risk profile was too large for 2020, and we are all conscious of our responsibility in helping to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
“All stakeholders were seeking a level of certainty that we couldn’t currently provide in terms of the pandemic, travel and quarantine conditions, and availability of players to participate given the varying restrictions on movement around the world.
“We want to offer the cricketing public a competition that is truly world-class – in playing talent, production value and experience. The Board, as a result, agreed that a 2021 start may provide a greater opportunity to achieve this. Our long-term commitment to the concept remains undimmed, but we believe this is the only sensible option in the circumstances. The signs are positive for the future of the event and our business partners have remained supportive throughout,” Mishra concluded.
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