The under-pressure Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Friday, suspended the start of this year’s Indian Premier League 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 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 said in a statement.
This came hours after Delhi government said it will not allow any sporting activity in the national capital due to the health crisis. Delhi is home to the Delhi Capitals IPL franchise.
India has more than 70 positive coronavirus cases so far and recorded its first COVID-19 death on Thursday in Karnataka.
“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 Board stated.
The Board said it will work closely with the central government to tackle the situation.
The Central government has suspended all visas to India till April 15 as part of measures to contain the spread of the pandemic which has put IPL’s scheduling in doubt.
The Sports Ministry has also asked all National Sports Federations (NSFs), including the BCCI to follow the Health Ministry’s guidelines. As per the guidelines issued, it has been asked to avoid large public gatherings.
World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday had declared the coronavirus outbreak a ‘pandemic’ and expressed deep concern.
The IPL is set to be a closed-door affair owing to the global crisis, which has caused close to 5,000 deaths.