Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) along with ILT Stadium Southland have made the difficult decision to cancel next month’s Schick 3X3 Cup, following the continued risks posed to sporting events due to Covid and the Omicron variant.
The Schick 3X3 Cup was scheduled to be held at ILT Stadium Southland from 10-12 February, with over 80 players from across New Zealand planning to travel to Invercargill for the annual basketball event. The event had previously been postponed from October 2021.
Leagues General Manager, Huw Beynon says that BBNZ, ILT Stadium Southland and Sky Sport have all worked hard for the event to continue but following a risk assessment, the potential risks were deemed to outweigh the benefits.
“At the end of the day we have to do what’s best for the players and the teams; we don’t want to put anyone at potential risk of getting – and spreading – Covid and then having to isolate for a long period away from home,” says Beynon.
“We also felt we had to do what’s best for the Southland region, and we thank Schick, ILT Stadium Southland and Sky Sport for being compassionate and understanding during this process; they’re all fantastic to work with and we look forward to continuing a strong relationship with them in the future.
“We know that fans will be disappointed too, but on the bright side we can now look at delivering a bigger and better Schick 3X3 Cup event in October – ideally with a Trans-Tasman 3X3 component included like we had planned in 2021 – back in the Southland region.”
BBNZ Chief Executive, Dillon Boucher believes that the decision – while disappointing – is the right one for everyone involved.
“We want basketball activities to operate safely in this country, and the Government and Sport NZ has laid out the groundwork for sport to continue under the red setting,” says Boucher.
“But we also have a responsibility to our players, staff and the wider community to operate safely and at minimal risk to everyone involved; so while this is a tough decision for us and the participants, we feel that it’s the correct one.”
Boucher says that BBNZ will assess all other upcoming basketball events on a case-by-case basis over the next few months.
“Given the Government restrictions in place we believe basketball can safely continue in some regional settings, as long as the risks are mitigated and people’s health and safety are put first.
“As one of the fastest-growing and most played sports in Aotearoa, basketball continues to play a big part of people’s lives; so it’s up to us to work out ways that basketball can continue operating in the community – from grassroots right up to the professional level.”