Shamfa Cudjoe

MINISTER OF SPORT: Shamfa Cudjoe

The seventh edition of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has gotten the green light from the Trinidad and Tobago government, with all the matches to be played here.

After months of speculation and lengthy discussions between the T&T government and CPL organisers, Minister of Sport Shamfa Cudjoe confirmed yesterday that this country will host the 2020 edition of the tournament, which will be held from August 18 to September 12.

The CPL will be the first major Caribbean event to take place since the deadly coronavirus brought sports to a halt in the middle of March.

Due to the health and safety protocols put in place to curb the spread of the virus, athletes were forced to stay at home and train in isolation.

However with the spread of the virus now under control in T&T, the restrictions on movement and congregation of people have been eased, allowing for team sports to restart with the appropriate social distancing and health protocols in place.

Now over 250 international and regional cricketers as well as CPL officials will be allowed into T&T and will be quarantined for 14 days before the CPL games actually bowl off behind closed doors. Cudjoe, speaking during a press conference in Tobago yesterday, revealed that interest in the CPL was high, not only in the region, but internationally as well, with journalists constantly calling her to get confirmation that the CPL will proceed as planned.

International cricket only restarted on Wednesday with England hosting the West Indies for the first Test at the bio-secured Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

Now T&T will lead the restart of franchise T20 cricket by hosting the CPL.

“We have been in negotiations with CPL over the last couple of weeks as it relates to hosting the CPL in Trinidad and Tobago and finalising all the arrangements as it relates to the Covid protocols and guidelines,” Cudjoe told the media.

She also noted that the players and CPL officials coming into T&T will have be undergo at least four Covid-19 tests before the start of the tournament.

“We would have had the Ministry of Health and the Local Organising Committee negotiating with CPL with SporTT chairman Mr Douglas Camacho as the head of the LOC. So this year we’ll see over 251 people from the CPL team come into Trinidad and Tobago and they will be staying at the Hilton,” Cudjoe revealed.

“We would have sat a negotiated the Covid protocols as it relates to quarantining before they leave their home countries, when they arrive in Trinidad and Tobago. The Minister also confirmed that the Hilton Trinidad will host all the players, workers and “different stakeholders” for the tournament.

“They will be doing their quarantine period there,” she explained.

“They will be tested before leaving home to ensure they negative, tested when they get here to T&T and tested on their seventh day and then tested again on their 14th day,” she added.

While the matches will be played at the Brain Lara Cricket Academy and the Queen’s Park Oval without fans, Cudjoe is still expecting the tournament to generate a lot of interest locally and internationally.

“I think that this opportunity presents an opportunity to market T&T as tourism destinations and as a safe place of choice. It is a good opportunity to get sports going once again in the region,” she said.

“Even though we can’t go to the Brian Lara Stadium or the Queen’s Park Oval and put on a t-shirt and fly our flags and dance and do all the things we usually do at CPL, we can do so from our homes. We are looking at a very exciting and interesting CPL season coming up,” the Minister noted.

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