In a move to buy some time to decide on the way ahead the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday postponed the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and pushed back its start to April 15 due to the outbreak of coronavirus. The tournament was scheduled to begin on March 29 with a blockbuster clash between defending champions Mumbai Indians and last year's runners-up Chennai Super Kings.
The decision comes after the Delhi government decided to 'ban' the tournament in the wake of the coronavirus threat. Earlier, the Maharashtra government had said that they will allow matches behind closed doors. BCCI on Friday announced that IPL 2020 has been cancelled till April 15.
"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 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," the board informed through an official mail.
The government on Wednesday cancelled all visas, except for a few official categories, till April 15 in the wake of the growing scare. In the meeting held at Nirman Bhavan in the national capital, it was decided that all existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/international organisations, employment and project visas, stand suspended till April 15 as the coronavirus outbreak has already seen over 60 positive cases in India.
The BCCI is set to meet the IPL team owners on Saturday before the start of the IPL Governing Council meeting and the way forward will be discussed then. The franchises are clear that while they are okay to have the games minus the fans, they want the foreign players as that is what makes the IPL a cricket carnival.