Further to the recommendation of the Softball Ireland Medical Committee, the Softball Ireland Board on March 15, 2021 agreed to withdraw all Softball Ireland National Teams and Club Teams from International Competition up to and including August 2021. The decision of the Board is athlete welfare driven to ensure those representing Ireland may do so in the safest way possible
The rationale for the recommendation of the Softball Ireland Medical Committee and the decision of our Board is as follows:
1. Ireland continues to be in a Level 5 (highest level) lock down which restricts movement and does not permit sport to be played bar for a very l imited number of sports. Softball (and Baseball) does not meet the criteria of elite sport in Ireland. At this point, we do not foresee Softball recommencing in Ireland before May 2021 earliest and therefore do not believe our athletes can be adequately conditioned or prepared to participate in an international tournament.
2. The continued spiking of COVID -19 across Europe together with the inconsistent vaccination roll out (including Ireland) has concerned our Medical Committee who formed the opinion that the risk of inf ection and the subsequent 14 day quarantining of infected player/staff continued to be too high a risk for amateur athletes. The concerns of the Medical Committee have been reconfirmed by the recent snap lockdowns in Italy and other European Countries coupled with the positive tests of an Irish athlete returning from the recent European Indoor Championships in Poland.
3. The on-going uncertainty around travel restrictions for athletes entering and exiting Italy, irrespective of nationality and the financial risk s associated with this.
4. In addition to the medical and logistical risks identified by the Medical Committee, the Irish government has also introduced a €2,000 travel fine ( per person) for non-essential International travel. We have been advised that travelling to compete in Softball European Championships does not meet the requirements to be deemed essential travel.
The decision to withdraw from international competition in 2021 was not a decision taken lightly by the Softball Ireland Board. However after discussions with the Medical Committee, HSE, coaches and athletes, the Softball Ireland Board has taken the position that our decisions would be taken with an abundance of caution and medically led by our Medical Committee.
Softball Ireland can confirm that the following teams have been withdrawn from 2021 events:
• Ireland National Team withdrawn from the Co- ed Slowpitch European Championships 2021
• Ireland National Team withdrawn from the Women’s European Championships 2021
• Dodder Softball Club withdrawn from the Co- Ed Slowpitch Super Cup 2021