The plans to host season 13 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) still in jeopardy despite the commitment of its governing body to commence the season this year in the wake of the global pandemic. Earlier this week, India’s Sports Minister said that the start of the new season would be taken by the government and not the not the Indian cricket board (BCCI), IPL’s governing body.
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has talked about the future of sports in India in an interview, saying that they “have been working for quite some time now to resume sporting activities”, but stressed out that they “are not going to have a tournament kind of situation immediately”. India has over 145,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths from the virus.
“We have to learn to live with the situation where sporting events will have to be carried forward without spectators in stadiums and sports venues,” he added. When asked about the future of India’s cash-rich league and one of the biggest sporting events in the world, Rijiju said it is the government’s decision to take a call on conducting any tournament in the country, including IPL.
“In India, the government has to take a call and it will take a call depending on the situation. We cannot put health at risk just because we want to have a sporting event,” he said. “Our focus is fighting Covid-19 and at the same time we will have to work a mechanism to get back to normalcy. It is difficult to confirm dates but I am sure we will have some kind of sporting events this year.”
Previously, the BCCI reiterate commitment to host the tournament this year. The governing body’s CEO backed the statement and hopeful that cricket will return after the monsoon. The cash-rich Twenty20 competition, due to begin on March 29 and pushed back to April 15, was postponed indefinitely. The BCCI is banking heavily on the ICC men’s T20 World Cup potential postponement to conduct the IPL.
As the T20 World Cup is likely to be postponed, the BCCI will get an opportunity to organise the IPL in October-November, with the participation of foreign players if things will get better during that time. BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal said that, ‘‘If the World T20 is held in Australia as per schedule (October 18 to November 15), then it will be almost impossible to find a window for the IPL.”
Earlier, the India Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced that stadiums and sporting complexes will be allowed to open without fans as the lockdown in the country extended to May 31. The Sports Minister, however, reiterated that resumption of sporting activities will entirely depend on guidelines of respective states and local administrations.
“We have been clearly advising that health and safety are top priorities. Besides that we have to keep in mind two other things, one is the guidelines issued by the Home Ministry, second, is the guidelines issued by the administrations of the respective localities or states. So, these are to be taken into account,” he said.
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