Little League International announced on April 30 its decision to cancel its seven World Series tournaments and their respective regional qualifying events, including the Western Regionals which are usually held each summer in San Bernardino.
This decision came after a thorough assessment of the impact the devastating COVID-19 pandemic has had on 6,500 community-based Little League programs in 84 countries and based upon the direction of governmental and public health authorities, and in consultation with medical professionals and its Board of Directors, Little League said in a news release.
“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,” said 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 the their qualifying regional tournaments, it will not be possible to proceed with our tournaments as we’ve hosted them for nearly 75 years.”
He said several factors went into the decision to cancel the World Series and regional tournaments, including:
• The inability to play qualifying tournaments in many of Little League's U.S. and International regions, coupled with direction from federal officials regarding the complexity of international travel restrictions and immigration requirements.
• An indication from teams from around the globe that they will be unable to participate or travel to these tournaments.
• The testing and mitigation protocols that would need to be in place at these significant public events should an individual participating or attending an event be diagnosed with COVID-19.
As 2021 was originally supposed to be the playing of the 75th Little League Baseball World Series, that celebration will now take place in 2022. More information about World Series locations and future dates can be found at LittleLeague.org.
To assist the local Little League programs as they continue to assess their local operations, Little League International will be crediting all chartered programs with the affiliation fees paid for their chartered teams in 2020, which totals about $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.
All of Fontana's Little League baseball and softball organizations shut down their operations in March.
In previous years, Fontana's all-star teams had been very successful in post-season competition. The Southridge 11-12 all-star softball squad advanced to the Western Regional event in San Bernardino in 2018.