In a press release, the Auckland Tuatara announced that it will not take part in the 2021/2022 ABL season due to several reasons.
The press release started with a statement about meeting the demands of the ABL to participate in the the league again. This after the ABL threatened to revoke the license after the Tuatara withdrew from the 2020/2021 season at the eleventh hour.
But in the same paragraph, the club announced to skip the 2021/2022 season. Main reason is still COVID-19. As the club stated, “COVID-19 is still causing lockdowns and headaches for professional sport and the exemption and quarantine process is still making it difficult and expensive for non NZ or Australian passport holders to get into the country.”
The club still lacks sufficient resources to base itself fully in Australia for the season.
“It is an incredibly difficult decision to come to,” Auckland Tuatara chairman Noel Davies said.
“It really hurt the franchise not playing last season, but in hindsight it proved the sensible thing to do. It meant our players were not locked down in Australia and it protected ourselves from financial risk. Because we wanted to play in the league, we waited until very late last year to make that tough call and that put pressure on the rest of the league. This time around we all agreed we needed to make a strong call early and that is what we have done. We are committed to playing in the ABL and we know that by taking this step and going through this short-term pain we will allow ourselves to be able to compete in the longer term.”
In contrast to the previous decision of the Tuatara to withdraw, the ABL stated it will assist the Tuatara to bring some baseball to the Tuatara fans in the upcoming season.
Baseball Australia president David Hynes stated: “We needed to confirm a schedule and that is very difficult for the Tuatara to commit to given the uncertainty presented with Covid outbreaks presenting a risk to the wellbeing of athletes and staff, coupled with the commercial risk to the ABL, Tuatara and ABL licensees through games being cancelled and rescheduled as was the case with last season. We applaud the early decision, and we know it is the safest option for everyone. We saw what they are capable of in 2019-20 and we look forward to seeing the Tuatara return to the league next season and beyond.”