In a bid to restart pathway events in Europe, the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday announced the relocation of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Europe Qualifier and the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Europe Qualifier due to the pandemic.
The first event to be relocated from Scotland to Spain was the Europe Qualifier to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup South Africa 2023. The Qualifier, which is two steps away from the World Cup, with unchanged dates being 26th to 30th August, will see France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland and Turkey all competing at La Manga, with France and Turkey taking part in an ICC women’s event for the first time ever.
On the other hand, The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2022 Europe Qualifier is also being relocated from Scotland to Spain and will now take place between 19th and 25th September at La Manga. Ireland, Jersey, the Netherlands and Scotland will all compete for one U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup spot.
The decision to move the events to Spain was taken after a period of consultation with the participating countries and relevant governments, where it was determined that it was the best possible chance for the events to take place due to COVID-19 restrictions in Scotland.
Cricked Espana Chief Executive John Howden said: “Cricket Espana are delighted to have the opportunity to host these two prestigious ICC pathway events.
“We feel the frustration of Cricket Scotland for not being able to host the matches, as also Cricket Finland and Cricket Belgium, who also have been denied Men’s T20 World Cup pathway event hosting opportunities this year through no fault of their own. Cricket Espana will endeavor to champion all their efforts to make both tournaments wonderful successes.”
In Africa, the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Division 2 Qualifier involving Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Tanzania has been cancelled as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. With no opportunity to reschedule the event, Tanzania and Rwanda have now been promoted to the Africa Qualifier on the basis of their records in the previous five editions of the U19 Men’s CWC qualifiers. They will join Namibia, Nigeria and Uganda in competing for one of the remaining five U19 Men’s CWC spots.
ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley said: “Whilst it is disappointing that Denmark and Guernsey will not be able to participate in the U19 Regional Qualifier, we are grateful for the efforts of everyone involved to enable these events to be rescheduled and give us the best possible chance of restarting ICC pathway events in Europe. The relocation of both events from Scotland to Spain will hopefully provide us with the first ICC pathway events since February last year.”
“Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions in Africa, we had no other option but to cancel the Division 2 Africa Qualifier in the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup pathway. In accordance with the principles approved by the ICC Board in November 2020, Tanzania and Rwanda will participate in the Africa U19 Regional Final in Nigeria from 25 September to 1 October.”
“The sixth series of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 between Scotland, Nepal and Namibia is now postponed to July 2022. We tried our best to play the series, but the tightening of restrictions in Namibia left us with no alternative but to postpone the event.”
Cricket Scotland Chief Executive, Gus Mackay said: “It is disappointing that the Men’s CWC League 2 series has not been able to go ahead. We know that it is possible to create safe environments where cricket can be played but moving teams around the world within the constantly changing landscape of COVID-19 travel restrictions is challenging.
“I’d like to thank everyone at the ICC, Nepal, Namibia, Cricket Espana and Cricket Scotland who have worked hard behind the scenes to give these matches the best chance of going ahead. I’m also grateful to Desert Springs which is a fantastic facility, for all their hard work in obtaining the required approvals from local authorities and we are looking forward to the events taking place in La Manga.”
“While Scottish Government regulations on travel mean that we were unable to host any international ICC events in 2021, I hope that those regulations will be reviewed soon to allow international cricket to restart in this country.”