Little League Baseball and Softball Divisions to play through World Series featuring U.S. Teams only. Teenage Divisional Tournaments to conclude at state level.
The Little League Baseball and Softball World Series events will be held, as scheduled, this August in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and Greenville, North Carolina (respectively), featuring teams solely from the United States. Based on the recommendation of the 2021 Little League International Pandemic Response Advisory Commission, the Little League International Board of Directors approved a plan that incorporates a series of COVID-19 mitigation measures to host these tournaments in a healthy, responsible environment.
“Little League puts the health, well-being, and safety of all players and volunteers first, and we are looking forward to hosting the Little League Regional and World Series tournaments with that aim this summer,” said Dr. Daniel Lueders, Commission Chair, Little League International Board of Directors Member, and UPMC Sports Medicine Physician and Assistant Professor. “The Commission’s recommendations reflect the most current CDC protocols, as well as direct input from state and local public health authorities. The advice of the leading public health, pediatric medicine, epidemiology, mental health, and operations experts on the Commission prioritize the health and safety of the players, volunteers, family, and fans above all else. We are confident that the implementation of these recommendations by Little League International will permit a safe and successful competition this summer and preserve the spirit and the experiences that make those events so special.”
Commission Recommendations Reviewed and Approved by the Little League International Board of Directors
- TESTING: All players and coaches will undergo COVID-19 testing prior to and upon arrival at their tournament location and will have significantly limited contact from other individuals until negative tests can be confirmed. Unvaccinated participants will also receive regular COVID-19 tests throughout the tournament. Little League International, through its partnership with Major League Baseball, will work with Spectrum Solutions, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, to provide tests at no-cost to participants and coordinate testing logistics for each event location to help ensure consistency in results and efficient turnarounds in receiving results.
- VACCINATIONS: Coaches and managers are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated, and, should a vaccine be available for age-appropriate players, vaccination would be also recommended for players if appropriate, but not required. All other adults on-site at the events (Little League International-appointed staff, volunteer umpires, officials, etc.), with the exception of team coaches and managers, will be required to provide proof of receiving their final dose of their vaccine at least two weeks prior to the start of their tournament event.
- OFF-FIELD ACTIVITIES: Participants will be limited in their off-field activities to mitigate the risk of exposure during the tournament.
- TEENAGE DIVISIONS: With the significant additional responsibilities of fully implementing the many facets of our COVID-19 mitigation plans at our volunteer-run Region and World Series tournaments at the teenage divisions, the Commission recommended that, out of the utmost respect to our volunteer organizers, the tournaments at these divisions [Intermediate (50/70) Baseball, Junior League Baseball, Junior League Softball, Senior League Baseball, and Senior League Softball] will conclude at the state level, with Region and World Series events canceled for a second year.
- PARTICIPATING TEAMS: The Little League Baseball® World Series will feature 16 teams with the top two teams advancing from each of its eight U.S. region tournaments. The Little League Softball® World Series will feature 10 teams, with the top two teams from each of its five U.S. region tournaments advancing. There will be no North Carolina Region as the host team at the Little League Softball world series in 2021. With regard to international participation, after carefully monitoring international travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, testing and vaccine availability, along with updates from Little League officials from many countries within our program advising us on feasibility of tournaments in our international regions, the Commission recommended that the Little League Baseball and Softball World Series feature teams only from the United States. Where appropriate, international teams may continue to play based upon their country’s guidelines and restrictions. Little League International anticipates continuing with its plans to expand the Little League Baseball World series to 20 teams and the Little League Softball World Series to 12 teams in 2022.
- SPECTATOR ATTENDANCE: Spectator attendance will be restricted at our Little League Baseball and Softball Region and World Series tournaments. Accommodations will be made for family members and a limited number of individuals associated with the participating teams. Those attending are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated and may be subject to additional screening measures to be announced at a later date.
In addition to the expertise shared from the Commission Members, Little League International engaged National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado, on developing a health safety implementation plan for organizing and holding the Little League Region and World Series events. National Jewish Health has worked on similar health safety plans with other youth and young adult-focused organizations, colleges and universities, and events.
“We are extremely grateful to our Commission Members, the talented professionals at National Jewish Health, and Spectrum Solutions for lending their expertise to develop an actionable plan to host these iconic events,” said Hugh E. Tanner, Little League International Board Chairman. “As the world’s largest and most respected youth sports program, it is our obligation to do everything within our ability to provide a tournament experience that follows the standard of care and concern for which our organization is highly regarded. It is our hope that by doing so this summer for Little Leaguers in their magical 12-year-old seasons, fans of this great game worldwide take a collective step forward toward normalcy.”
About the Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® World Series
The Little League Baseball and Little League Softball World Series and Region Tournaments feature tournament teams from local leagues for players league age 10 to 12. Region tournaments are held throughout July and August at Little League International’s Region Complexes in Whitestown, Indiana; Bristol, Connecticut; Warner Robins, Georgia; Waco, Texas; and San Bernardino, California. The Little League Softball World Series, to be held from August 11-18, for the first time in Greenville, North Carolina, with the field comprised of the top two finishers from the Central Region, East Region, Southeast Region, Southwest Region, and West Region. The Little League Baseball World Series will be played from August 19-29 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with two teams from the Great Lakes Region, Mid-Atlantic Region, Midwest Region, New England Region, Northwest Region, Southeast Region, Southwest Region, and West Region.
Additional information, including a full set of Frequently Asked Questions, schedule information, and important updates throughout the coming months can be found at LittleLeague.org/WorldSeries.