COVID-19: BCCI suspends IPL till April 15; shorter, closed-door affair with double-headers
New Delhi: The under-pressure BCCI on Friday suspended the start of this year’s IPL from March 29 to April 15 in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused massive upheaval across the globe.
“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,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.
This came hours after Delhi government suspended all sporting activity in the national capital due to the ever-growing health crisis. Delhi is home to the Delhi Capitals IPL franchise.
The BCCI statement made it clear that it’s “suspension” and “not postponement” which means that there is no clarity on whether the event will start on April 15.
Even if it starts on April 15, it is expected to happen behind closed doors without the fans.
So far, India has recorded more than 70 positive cases and one death due to the pandemic which has claimed close to 5,000 lives globally.
The BCCI will discuss all the modalities of this year’s edition at the IPL Governing Council meeting in Mumbai on Saturday.
“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,” Shah stated.
“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,” he added.
There is a possibility that the tournament will feature more double-headers than previously planned and at least five optional venues are being kept ready after state governments of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi refused permission for the games.
“The only option left was postponement of the tournament till the visa ban is lifted (April 15). All the franchises have made it clear that there is no point of an IPL without foreign recruits,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.