The Coronavirus scare has led to major sporting events across the world getting cancelled in the last few days. Similarly, the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is also under the threat of getting cancelled with the Indian Government upholding the visas of the foreigners until April 15. While the BCCI is yet to decide whether to cancel the IPL this year or just postpone and hope for things to get better, the tournament is now likely to be played behind closed doors.
The Indian Government, on Thursday, indicated that they will not be stopping the sporting events from taking place as long as they are strictly following the health ministry guidelines which are against the mass gatherings. Almost every IPL game in India witnesses several thousand fans flocking to the stadium which will not be the case this time around if the tournament goes ahead.
India’s Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju made the announcement on Thursday. While speaking specifically about the IPL, he asserted that they are not stopping the games from taking place but mentioned that there should be no mass gathering.
‘People’s health cannot be put in danger’ – says Kiren Rijiju
“We are not stopping the game. We are just telling to ensure that there is no mass gathering. Precautionary step is very important for the health of the country. Health of the nation is more important than anything. If matches happen the organisers would need to put in place all infrastructure including screening machines. You cannot hold a match without that.
“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 scheduled to meet on March 14 in order to discuss the fate of the 2020 season of the cash-rich league. Not long ago, the BCCI President Sourav Ganguly had confirmed that the IPL will go ahead as planned. But things have escalated rather quickly with Coronavirus cases increasing with every passing day in India as well.
Moreover, it also remains to be seen if the latest statement from the government will affect the India-South Africa. While the series opener in Dharamsala has been affected by rain, the organisers are expecting a full house in Lucknow where the second ODI is scheduled on March 15. The third and final ODI will be played on March 18 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
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