SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pennsylvania (41NBC/WMGT) – Little League International announced Thursday that the 2020 Little League World Series and Region Tournaments are canceled for the first time in the organization’s history.
“After a thorough assessment of the impact the devastating COVID-19 pandemic has had on 6,500 community-based Little League® programs in 84 countries and based upon the direction of governmental and public health authorities, and in consultation with medical professionals and our Board of Directors, Little League International has made the difficult and disappointing decision to cancel its seven World Series tournaments and their respective regional qualifying events,” a release said.
Several factors went in to the decision, including:
- The inability to play qualifying tournaments in many of our U.S. and International regions, coupled with direction from federal officials regarding the complexity of international travel restrictions and immigration requirements.
- An indication from teams from around the globe that they will be unable to participate or travel to these tournaments.
- The testing and mitigation protocols that would need to be in place at these significant public events should an individual participating or attending an event be diagnosed with COVID-19.
The cancellation includes the 82 regional qualifying tournaments and their respective seven World Series events:
Little League Baseball – South Williamsport, Pa.
Little League Softball® – Greenville, N.C.
Intermediate (50/70) Baseball – Livermore, Calif.
Junior League Baseball – Taylor, Mich.
Junior League Softball – Kirkland, Wash.
Senior League Baseball – Easley, S.C.
Senior League Softball –Sussex County, Del.
The release said the 2020 MLB Little League Classic presented by GEICO, originally scheduled for August 23 between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, has also been canceled. Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have already committed to returning to Williamsport for the 2021 MLB Little League Classic next August.
“To assist the local Little League programs as they continue to assess their local operations, Little League International will be crediting all chartered programs with the affiliation fees paid for their chartered teams in 2020, which totals approximately $1.2 million in support to local leagues,” the release said. “These funds will be credited through Little League’s Data Center and be available for local leagues to use on current balances, future affiliation and insurance fees, tournament enrollment, and other Little League-related expenses.”
Little League International says it strongly encourages volunteers to confirm with their local and state health officials that it is safe to do before resuming Little League activity after May 11.
“Please be patient with us while we make the best possible decision for our local league,” Warner Robins American Little League posted on its Facebook following the announcement.