Women's World Cup schedule intact despite Omicron threat in NZ
The Women's World Cup in New Zealand will go ahead as planned despite the community spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in the country, the organisers of the event said on Friday.
The tournament could not be held last year because of the pandemic, and New Zealand has imposed new restrictions to prevent a potential Omicron outbreak as in neighbouring Australia.
"We did look at multiple contingency plans over the last 12 months but the plan is to retain the schedule as it is with the six venues," Chief Executive Officer Andrea Nelson said in a virtual media call.
"The contingency measures we're putting in place relate to kind of protecting the travel between those venues as much as possible."
The month-long tournament of one-day matches begins on Mar. 4 with an opening round clash between the hosts and West Indies at Mount Maunganui.
New Zealand Cricket has tweaked its home fixture to reduce travel to minimise risk of COVID-19 infection.
Nelson said organisers were committed to delivering "the safest possible tournament", but admitted there was uncertainty around how many fans could be allowed in the stands.
New restrictions allow attendance at such events only in groups of 100 people.
"We're doing a lot of work with all our venues and with the New Zealand government to maximise the attendance."
"The work we're undertaking at the moment is how many groups of 100 can we fit within each stadium? And we're working through a bit of detail on that."
Regardless of crowd size, Nelson promised an "incredible event".
"When we set out to plan this event, it was really important that we showcase that global growth of women's sport and inspire people here in New Zealand and around the world with the world's best athletes in action.
"We're looking to do that even more so if we are restricted with the number of people inside the stadium."