How the shift to red light level impacts New Zealand sport

Publish Date
Monday, 24 January 2022, 8:48AM
Photosport

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Sports minister Grant Robertson has eased fears that the move to a red light alert level could impact the women's ODI Cricket World Cup later in the year.

New Zealand is set to host the event in March and April, which will see countries come from around the world to compete for the top title in the sport.

With the country moved to the red light setting at 11.59pm on Sunday after confirmation of Omicron Covid-19 cases in the community, it posed questions as to how sport would be impacted.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed outdoor and indoor events and gatherings for vaccinated people are reduced to 100 people, and if unvaccinated people attend "that further reduces to 25''.

Speaking at an unscheduled press conference on Sunday, Robertson said the cricket tournament was not expected to be affected.

"We don't know how long this will last,'' Robertson said.

"The Women's Cricket World Cup organisers have been planning for this tournament to take place in the red setting, and it can absolutely do that.

"Bear in mind, when we brought the red setting in it is possible to use the defined space rules to effectively have pods of 100 people as long as they keep separate from one and another and come into and out of the venue separately.

"I know the Cricket World Cup team have been thinking about that, if it is necessary.''

For other competitions set to get underway, it is yet to be seen how they will be affected given the uncertain timeframe of the red light level.

The Super Smash T20 cricket is set to continue, with matches being played behind closed doors. It is likely that Super Rugby follows a similar plan. The season is not due to start for a couple of weeks yet, with preseason matches in early February before the first game of the season on February 18. New Zealand Rugby is expected to comment on if and how the change will impact the competition further early in the week ahead.

Nothing is expected to change in terms of the confirmed Black Caps schedule for the summer. Having had to park their scheduled matches in Australia due to the Government freeze on MIQ spots, they are still due to host a two-test series against South Africa beginning on February 17, and an ODI series against the Netherlands starting in late March.

A proposed T20 series against Australia in March is dependent on border restrictions.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission