IPL 2020 | Postponed to 15th April Due To Coronavirus
The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) won't begin on March 29 as per the prevailing schedule.The tournament is being postponed to April 15th. In a media release, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said, "The BCCI cares and sensitive about all its stakeholders, and public health generally, and it is taking all necessary steps to make sure that, all people associated with IPL including fans have a secure cricketing experience."
"The BCCI will work closely with the govt of India alongside the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and everyone other relevant Central and government departments during this regard," the statement added.
The office-bearers of the BCCI, led by president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah, met at the board's headquarters in Mumbai on Friday to take the call. They were assisted by their operations and logistics team in arriving at the decision.
A meeting of the IPL's governing council is scheduled for Saturday in Mumbai. Before that meeting, the office-bearers of the Board and members of the governing council were expected to meet all franchises of the league and other important stakeholders to chart out the way forward.
However, with growing voices of concern given the huge threat of Covid-19 at the instant, the BCCI has found it prudent to push the announcement that the league cannot begin as per the current schedule. For now, it puts to rest the heavy speculation that has clouded the league for on the brink of every week now.
"The postponement gives BCCI the time to reassess things and have that far more time available to require an extra call. The postponement will allow them to ascertain if the threat of the virus ceases any time soon, remains on top of things or gets worse. Depending on these scenarios and what the central and state governments say, a further call can be taken," say sources in the know.
At this moment, if overseas players have to arrive in India to participate in the IPL, their visas are either still being processed, pending for lack of necessary permissions, for a better understanding of existing travel routes or being rejected for now.
"The postponement will allow the BCCI to reassess that situation too. If the tournament can be held from mid-April onwards, then there is time now to work on the visas. Remember, the IPL cannot be held without overseas players. That's a condition every franchise will be placed on paper no matter anything," sources added.
The IPL is going to be played behind closed doors, to empty stands. The order from the central sports ministry on the matter stands.
In such a scenario, the BCCI will have two things in mind: A) Change the format of the league, like they have done in the past, to fit into a smaller window; B) Conduct the league within two to three venues so that unnecessary travel can be curbed.
"Let's say, as an example, the Maharashtra government allows - the IPL is often held in Mumbai and Pune. There won't be any air travel required. Or it can be moved to Gujarat and be played only at Motera and Rajkot. Or in Andhra - only in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam. Something on those lines. There's time to work that out," say those tracking developments.
Certain states, Delhi for instance, have already announced that they will not allow the hosting of IPL in the present scenario. More states are likely to imitate if the crisis continues. "The present decision to postpone allows BCCI quite a month's window starting now to figure on these issues. The good thing is that the BCCI is taking a stand immediately," they add.