St Kitts and Nevis will play host to this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL), with organizers on Tuesday describing the country as “one of the safest places” in the region amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The high-profile Twenty20 tournament, which bowls off August 28, will again be played in a bio-secure bubble which obtained last year when Trinidad and Tobago hosted the championship in the early days of COVID-19.
St Kitts has reported only 44 infections to date, with no deaths or active cases, and organizers said they would partner with all key local stakeholders to “ensure the health and safety of all those involved in the tournament as well as the local population.”
“We are delighted to be able to announce that we will be having the Hero CPL in St Kitts & Nevis in 2021 and we would like to thank those involved in welcoming the tournament to this wonderful country,” said CPL’s chief operating officer, Pete Russell.
“As was demonstrated during the 2020 tournament, the CPL is a massive boost for the host country with US$51.5 million delivered in sponsorship value for Trinidad & Tobago.
“We are really looking forward to giving St Kitts & Nevis the exposure they deserve.”
St Kitts, home of the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, last hosted the CPL in the 2019 season when Warner Park staged five matches, including a dramatic super-over victory by the hosts over Trinbago Knight Riders.
Unlike Trinidad, however, which featured two venues for last year’s tournament in the Brian Lara Stadium and Queen’s Park Oval, organizers will have to make do with Warner Park for the anticipated 33 matches.
St Kitts Sports Minister, Jonel Powell, said the country welcomed the economic activity the tournament would stimulate but stressed that the government would not let its guard down.
“We are greatly confident that the hosting of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in St. Kitts & Nevis in 2021 will stimulate much-needed economic activity, especially for small and medium-sized local businesses,” Powell said.
“As it relates to COVID-19 we will maintain our vigilance to ensure that our health protocols are not compromised and that the country remains protected from any serious spread of the Coronavirus.
“It will most certainly help to revive the tourism sector that has been struggling for over a year, under the weight of the deadly COVID-19 global pandemic. Therefore, the economic impact is forecast to be significant.”
St Kitts reopened to international travel last October after a seven-month lockdown to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19.
Currently, all visitors to the island must possess a valid negative PCR test and undergo a mandatory quarantine period.
TKR won their fourth CPL title last year when they beat St Lucia Zouks at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba.