SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA (WOWK) – Little League has announced it will cancel the 2020 Little League World Series and regional tournaments due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The organization says this is the first time in its history the World Series tournaments have been canceled.
“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,” says Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “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 their qualifying regional tournaments, it will not be possible to proceed with our tournaments as we’ve hosted them for nearly 75 years.”
The organization says 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, NC
- Intermediate (50/70) Baseball – Livermore, CA
- Junior League Baseball – Taylor, MI
- Junior League Softball – Kirkland, WA
- Senior League Baseball – Easley, SC
- Senior League Softball –Sussex County, DE
The organization says the 75th Little League Baseball World Series celebration was originally scheduled for 2021, and will now take place in 2022. More information about World Series locations and future dates can be found at LittleLeague.org.
“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,” says Hugh E. Tanner, Little League International Board of Directors Chairman. “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.”
To assist the local Little League programs as they continue to assess their local operations, Little League International says it 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. 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.
As each state and community will have different guidance for resuming organized youth sports, Little League International strongly encourages volunteers to confirm with their local and state health officials that it is safe to do so before resuming Little League activity after May 11. According to the organization, these playing opportunities could include not only regular-season activities, but opportunities for local district, and, perhaps, state all-star tournament play to provide players, especially those moving up to a new age division in 2021, a tournament experience, if possible and safe.
Little League International and Regional staff will continue to be a resource for our District and league volunteers, and are encouraged to contact SeasonUpdate@LittleLeague.org for additional support, according to the organization. For more information about Little League’s recommendations surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), frequently asked questions, season resumption guidelines, and more, visit LittleLeague.org/Coronavirus.