The coronavirus scare has led to the cancellation of major sporting events around the world in recent days. Likewise, the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is also under threat of being canceled with the Indian government keeping visas for foreigners until April 15. While the BCCI has yet to decide whether to cancel the IPL this year or just postpone and expect things to improve, the tournament is now likely to be played behind closed doors.
The Indian government on Thursday indicated that they will not stop sporting events as long as they strictly follow the guidelines of the health ministry that are against mass gatherings. Almost every IPL game in India is witness to several thousand fans flocking to the stadium, which will not be the case this time if the tournament continues.
Indian Minister of State for Youth and Sports Affairs Kiren Rijiju made the announcement on Thursday. While speaking specifically about the IPL, he stated that they would not stop the games, but mentioned that there should not be a mass meeting.
“People’s health cannot be jeopardized,” says Kiren Rijiju
“We are not stopping the game. We are just saying to make sure there is not a mass meeting. The precautionary step is very important for the health of the country. The health of the nation is more important than anything else. If the matches do happen, the organizers would have to set up the entire infrastructure, including detection machines. You can’t have a game without it.
“We are not saying anything to stop the match. We are just saying: even if they go ahead with the match, ensure that guidelines are followed. People’s health cannot be put into danger,” Kiren Rijiju was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
Meanwhile, the IPL Governing Council is slated to meet on March 14 to discuss the fate of the cash-rich league’s 2020 season. Not long ago, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly had confirmed that the IPL will continue as planned. But things have escalated quite fast with Coronavirus cases increasing with each passing day in India as well.
Furthermore, it remains to be seen whether the latest government statement will affect India and South Africa. While the series’ opening in Dharamsala has been affected by the rain, organizers expect a full house in Lucknow, where the second ODI is slated for March 15. The third and final ODI will be played on March 18 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.