With the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic while expressing deep concern, the sporting events all around the world have taken a massive hit. With a plethora of tournaments such as La Liga, Australian Grand Prix, Serie A, ISSF Shooting World Cup, UEFA Euro 2020 and Road Safety World Series among a few getting either suspended or postponed, all eyes are on the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 which is scheduled to kickstart from March 29.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has now invited all the franchises for the IPL Governing Council meeting, which will be held on March 14 (Saturday), to decide the fate of the cash-rich tournament amid the coronavirus pandemic. The apex cricket board has mainly two major options on the cards – to either postpone the event or play it behind closed doors.
IPL franchises invited for IPL Governing Council meeting
When asked about whether the IPL franchises have been invited for the governing council meeting on Saturday, a BCCI source told ANI: “Yes, we have invited them for the meeting.”
Moreover, the future of IPL 2020 is in major doubt as the Indian government has suspended all visas to India till April 15 which has put the participation of foreign players under dark clouds. “Yes, foreign players will not be available. We will discuss this and other issues at our Governing Council meeting scheduled for March 14,” a source in the IPL Governing Council said. Even Cricket Australia (CA) has decided to step in and will decide on the participation of their players in IPL 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Sports Ministry has further asked all National Sports Federations (NSFs) including the BCCI to follow the health ministry’s guidelines and avoid mass gatherings. On Thursday, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope had said that the IPL should happen behind closed doors or should be postponed. Even the MEA has advised against conducting IPL 2020 amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Furthermore, the remaining two ODIs of the ongoing India versus South Africa ODI series, to be played in Lucknow and Kolkata, will be played behind closed doors as the BCCI has decided to comply to Health Ministry’s advisory to avoid large public gatherings.