Last week, the sixth season of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) has been postponed to 2021 due to the threats of the coronavirus pandemic. The Indian-based competition was scheduled to be held during the window December-January. However, the second wave of the pandemic in the country, which is hitting Delhi and other major cities, prompted the postponement of the league until next year.
“We have been lucky to get a window in December-January for last five years but COVID has turned life upside down. International travel is also banned till December 31 so that is also a problem. We have to think about players safety in these times,” Mangipudi, Managing Director of Sportzlive, which is the official host of the league over the years told a sports news outlet.
PBL is one of the emerging global badminton leagues having six-franchise-based teams, who compete in a home and away format. The fifth edition of the tournament was held from January 20 to February 9 across four cities early this year. Prasad is hopeful international travel restrictions will be eased and things will be better next year with the announcement of vaccines.
“This year’s edition would have happened in cities like Pune, Mumbai, Delhi which are most hit. Also there is Asia leg in January and then the Olympic qualifiers but we are hoping to host the event between the Olympics and the end of the last qualifying tournament in May. Then we can get some key players, including the Tokyo-bound players,” he said.
Due to the pandemic, the BWF had re-scheduled the Asian leg to next year with the Asia Open I slated for January 12-17, followed by Asia Open II from January 19-24 and the BWF World Tour Finals from January 27-31. Earlier, events like the Thomas and Uber Cups, the Denmark Masters and several other tournaments were cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic.
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