According to a press release from the league, the COVID-19 Pandemic and current restrictions on international travel has made it impossible to plan for a timeline of sending Australian athletes overseas to compete in the NPF competition.
“Although we are disappointed, we regard our players health and safety as paramount to all else and understand the current global pandemic of Covid-19 makes the participation of Softball Australia as the Aussie Peppers, impossible for 2020,” said NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf. “We look forward to the future – 2021 and beyond – when we will all compete together again.”
“We’re disappointed not to be competing for the Aussie Peppers of Minnesota in the NPF in 2020,” said David Pryles, Chief Executive Officer at Softball Australia. “The Peppers organisation and the City of Mankato were incredibly welcoming and accommodating in 2019 and we have no doubt we would’ve received the same reception in 2020, however, the safety of our athletes must be a priority in this uncertain period. That, and the strict travel restrictions put in place by the Australian Federal Government has forced our hand into not sending the Travelodge Aussie Spirit squad to the NPF.”
The Aussie Peppers were scheduled to lead off the their third NPF season on June 2nd, 2020, playing out of Franklin Rogers Park in Mankato, Minnesota. A 20+ game season was set to lead Softball Australia to the doorstep of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where they were slated to compete for an Olympic medal among the tight, six-team field. But with the 2020 Olympics delayed to 2021, the urgency to field a team in America in 2020 lessened.
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