Trinbago Knight Riders captain Dwayne Bravo, centre, kisses the 2018 CPL trophy as Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley,left, spinner Khary Pierre, second left, manager Colin Borde, second right, and other team officials look on.

Caribbean Premier League stakeholders will have to adhere to strict COVID-19 guidelines during the 2020 edition of the event here in Trinidad and Tobago next month, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe said yesterday.

One of the big casualties of this will be that there will be no fans in the stands for the duration of the tournament, which will run from August 18 to September 12, 2020.

Cudjoe gave the details of T&T accepting the responsibility to host the entire event at a news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in Scarborough, Tobago.

She said a contingent of over 251 people, including the players, staff and other officials attached to the six CPL teams—the Barbados Tridents, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Jamaica Tallawahs, St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, St Lucia Zouks and the Trinbago Knight Riders—will come into T&T for the series and will be quarantined at the Hilton Trinidad in Port-of-Spain and must adhere to strict COVID protocols

“They would be doing their quarantine period there and they would be tested before leaving home (countries) to ensure they are negative, tested when they get here to Trinidad and Tobago and going to quarantine, tested on their seventh day and tested again on their fourteenth day. This is the first time we are hosting this type of sporting activity under COVID regulations and under this COVID situation,” Cudjoe said.

She said the Government reached an agreement with the CPL where they will host the tournament to the tune of US$1 million, broken down into US$500 in cash and US$500 in kind.

She said in keeping with the new normal, spectators will not be allowed at the games.

“We have arranged that viewers or spectators would not be allowed to go sit and watch CPL. Of course, it would have to be recorded and live broadcasted and so on, so we are happy to partner with CPL once again. I think that this opportunity presents a tremendous opportunity for Trinidad and Tobago to market Trinidad and Tobago as a tourism destination,” she said.

She added, “We have to take all precautions and hence there will be no spectators at the ground. So you would not be able to wear your team jersey and wave your flag at the venue but all these nice things can be done at home. The matches will be broadcasted live as CNC3 television has exclusive rights.

“We will continue to monitor the situation concerning COVID-19 and to be on top of it, as it is a rolling situation and requires different rules and regulations as time goes on. Once we bring off this tournament successfully and I am sure we will, then it will be a lesson for us in hosting other games.”

CNC3 has the exclusive rights locally for the tournament.

Cudjoe said no other guests will be accommodated at the Hilton Trinidad while the teams are there.

She said there are economic benefits to be derived, as COVID-19 has put a damper on the norm of island-hopping for matches. She said the previous agreement T&T had with the CPL included seven games, the semifinals and the finals but this year the entire tournament will be here.

“It (T&T) is the only destination for CPL this year, so whilst we would have had the players and staff and the tourists here for seven days in the past, this year they are going to be here for a minimum of 41 days and we are pleased to have them here and to enjoy the economic benefits that are going to come from the economic activity that this sports tourism event is going to generate,” she said.

“The benefits that will come to us from this investment will be getting an opportunity to market the destination. So those involved in the tourism sector must get ready to sell, sell, sell. We must sell T&T as a sports tourism destination, as well as a tourism destination as a whole and this provides that opportunity.”

Commenting on the prospect of empty stands for a tournament hosted at home, TKR manager Colin Borde said the crowd will be missed.

“The 12th man (crowd) has always been one of the key components for us and we are hoping that along the way, probably if towards the end, we are still there that doors may open,” Borde told the T&t Guardian.

“We will stay within the rules of Government and CPL. Regarding the energy and passion of the crowd, it will be missed. We will just have to dig deep and let our passion and drive take us far in the tournament.”

Guyana Amazon Warriors manager Omar Khan also said it will be a strange experience without fans but he was happy it was at least still coming off.

“It is good news. We have been waiting for a while now and I am glad that it has been all approved now,” Khan said.

“It is going to be a tournament of a difference, the first time we are experiencing this kind of tournament in the Caribbean. It will be quite a different atmosphere. Caribbean people are fun-loving, they like to entertain and party. However, knowing Caribbean fans, I am sure they will be planning limes home by their houses to watch the game.”

On the impact it will have on the local TKR team, Khan said: “It will impact all the teams not having fans, the home team will miss their home support. All players will need to adjust, it is just exciting to know that we will have live cricket again.”