COVID-19: BCCI defers start of IPL till 15 April

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The Indian Premier League had been postponed in wake of Coronavirus outbreak.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to suspend IPL 2020 till 15th April 2020, as a precautionary measure against the ongoing Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) situation.

The BCCI is concerned and sensitive about all its stakeholders, and public health in general, and it is taking all necessary steps to ensure that, all people related to IPL including fans have a safe cricketing experience, the BCCI stated in a Press release.

Also Read: No IPL matches in Delhi in wake of Coronavirus threat: Manish Sisodia

The BCCI will work closely with the Government of India along with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and all other relevant Central and State Government departments in this regard.

There were questions over the availability of foreign players after the Government of India had issued visa restrictions till April 15. The situation further worsened today (Friday) after the Delhi Government issued an order that it will not allow any sports competitions, “including the IPL”, and other events which require gathering of more than 200 people.

Also Read: IPL 2020: BCCI explores alternate venues after Delhi shuts doors

The BCCI was contemplating to conduct the IPL games without any spectators. The franchisees had put all their activities on hold following a Ministry of Health directive to bar big gathering. The Maharashtra State Government had barred sale of the tickets for the IPL matches in Mumbai.

The franchisees were eagerly awaiting the outcome of the IPL Governing Council meeting in Mumbai tomorrow (Saturday). The BCCI had invited all the eight team owners for the crucial meeting.

However, the a communique from the BCCI office on in the afternoon today laid all speculation to rest about the timely start of the IPL.

The future of the cricket’s biggest commercial activity will now entirely depend on how the authorities are able to check the menace of the virus which has infected over 1.34 lakh people worldwide, resulting in nearly 5,000 deaths.

In India, 74 positive cases and one death have been confirmed due to the COVID-19 virus, which transmits from humans to humans.

Even if the BCCI would be in a position to start the IPL after April 15, a full-fledged league will be a remote possibility. Considering the packed international calendar and players availability, the board now will have to contemplate the option of a curtailed league with the teams divided into two pools to reduce the number of total matches.