Little League World Series canceled for 2020 due to coronavirus concerns, 75th anniversary pushed to 2022

The 2020 Little League World Series is canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis, Little League president and CEO Stephen Keener announced Thursday on Facebook Live.

The tournament is in its 74th year and the cancellation now moves back the 75-year anniversary celebrations planned for 2021. It is the first time the organization has had to cancel the event and the organization announced it will credit fees paid by chartered affiliates for 2020. Per Little League, that totals $1.2 million.

Little League World Series canceled

The organization considered the factors in holding the tournament as scheduled from Aug. 20 to Aug. 30 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It includes teams from regions in the United States as well as international squads.

River Ridge, Louisiana takes a victory lap around the field at Lamade Stadium after winning the Little League World Series Championship game against Curacao, 8-0, in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
The Little League World Series will not take place in 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

It decided to not go ahead since teams were not able to play qualifying tournaments due to local restrictions, some had already indicated they were unable to participate or travel to the tournament, and testing protocols would need to be in place, which might not happen in time.

Keener said in his statement:

“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. 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.”

The 2020 MLB Little League Classic scheduled for Aug. 23 between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles in Williamsport is also canceled. And the 75th anniversary celebration planned for 2021 will now be pushed back to 2022.

The Little League International chartered programs will be credited their affiliation fees for 2020, per the Little League release. It amounts to $1.2 million.

All World Series events also canceled

The cancellation includes 82 regional qualifying tournaments as well as the World Series championships for every level. That includes Little League Softball in Greenville, North Carolina; Intermediate (50/70) baseball in Livermore, California; junior league baseball in Taylor, Michigan; junior league softball in Kirkland, Washington; senior league baseball in Easley, South Carolina; and senior league softball in Sussex County, Delaware.

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