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Little League Cancels World Series, Region Tournaments

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(Derek Davis/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

For the first time in its history, Little League International has canceled its World Series and Region Tournaments, the organization announced Thursday.

The decision comes in response to the ongoing impact of the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak, which has canceled countless sporting events across the globe.

"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,” Little League President and CEO Stephen D. Keener said. "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."

Little League's decision impacts 82 regional qualifying tournaments as well as seven World Series events, including three for softball.

"Delivering this news comes with a very heavy heart. We have never had to cancel our World Series tournaments, but, right now, as our world comes together, we must do everything we can to help stem the spread of this deadly virus," Little League International Board of Directors Chairman Hugh E. Tanner said. "While we take this pause from the World Series and Regional Tournaments this summer, we are committed to working with our volunteers and staff to continue to provide an unparalleled youth sports experience to all children and be back stronger than ever in 2021."

Also on Thursday, Little League committed roughly $1.2 million to support its leagues around the country. According to a statement, the 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."

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