Little League World Series cancelled due to pandemic

Coronavirus

In this Aug. 23, 2018, photo, Little League fans watch a consolation baseball game between Coeur D’Alene, Idaho and Barcelona, Spain at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa. Little League has been benched. The youth baseball program that boasts more than 2.5 million kids spread over 6,500 programs in 84 countries is on hold at least until May 11 due to the corona virus pandemic.  Even that target date for a return to the sports lineup seems optimistic, and the fate of its signature event, the Little League World Series in August in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania is unclear. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(WFRV) – The Little League World Series has been cancelled for the first time in it’s history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently there are over 6,500 community based Little League programs around the country and abroad.

On Thursday those communities saw the Little League International made a decision that will affect all of those programs in some as they cancelled Little League World Series events both in the U.S. and around the world.

Along with the announcement on Thursday, and a statement by President and CEO Stephen D. Keener was also posted on Twitter.

“This is a heartbreaking decision for everyone at Little League International, but more so for those millions of Little Leaguers who have dreamt of one day playing in one of our seven World Series events,” said Stephen D. Keener in a press release.

“After exhausting all possible options, we came to the conclusion that because of the significant public health uncertainty that will still exist several months from now, and with direction from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, as well as senior public health officials and government leaders from locations where our other six World Series are held, as well as the their qualifying regional tournaments, it will not be possible to proceed with our tournaments as we’ve hosted them for nearly 75 years.”

According to a release by Little League International, there were numerous factors that went into the decision to cancel regional tournaments, and ultimately the Little League World Series. Those included the inability to play qualifying tournaments in the U.S. and abroad, international travel issues, as well the testing and mitigation protocols if anyone at the event with COVID-19.

“Delivering this news comes with a very heavy heart. We have never had to cancel our World Series tournaments, but, right now, as our world comes together, we must do everything we can to help stem the spread of this deadly virus,” said Board of Directors Chairman Hugh E. Tanner in a press release.

“While we take this pause from the World Series and Regional Tournaments this summer, we are committed to working with our volunteers and staff to continue to provide an unparalleled youth sports experience to all children and be back stronger than ever in 2021.”

In all 82 qualifying events and seven World Series events, including both baseball and softball, were cancelled as a result of the pandemic.

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