Softball Australia cancels 2021 women’s national championship to focus on next year's Olympics, national team

Softball Australia cancels 2021 women’s national championship to focus on next year's Olympics, national team
14/10/2020
After careful consideration and consultation from the member states, medical experts and athletes, Softball Australia regretfully confirmed the 2021 Gilley’s Shield has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 impact.

Softball Australia announced today the cancellation of the 2021 Gilley’s Shield, the country’s open women’s national championship. Given current and newly confirmed border restrictions leading into 2021, Softball Australia cannot hold the Gilley’s Shield in its existing format.

Some Member States may not be in a position to send teams altogether, and/or, there will be significant stress and pressure put on programs from a financial perspective. Softball Australia also note that some States preparation has been and continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions.

The Australian national governing body announced also that the event cannot be held beyond March 2021 due to the lead up program for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games. In order to best prepare the Australian Olympic Squad, the selection of a final roster must occur no later than mid-March 2021 (at the latest).  

With limited opportunities available for recruiting much needed key position players (eg. lack of international travel resulting in no high-level pitchers able to join state teams), in addition to Australian players who are unavailable given college requirements, the competitive nature of Gilley’s will be impacted significantly.

Softball Australia understands the disappointment around the cancellation and are preparing alternative options for athletes vying for selection to the Aussie Spirit team to receive top level competition and will communicate further details as they come to hand. 

At this current time, there are no plans to make adjustments to the remaining National Championships as listed at softball.org.au. Back in September, Softball Australia announced all national championships have been rescheduled resulting from COVID-19’s impacted travel restrictions and quarantining measures. The national events have been rescheduled to be played from the last week of January through until early July.