Mumbai Indians were to take on Chennai Super Kings in the first match of IPL 2020 on March 29 at Wankhede, as per the original schedule.
It’s yet to be made official by the BCCI but it’s certain now that IPL will not happen this year due to coronavirus pandemic. The BCCI is waiting for an announcement from the central government and sports ministry on visas before making the news official. The Indian cricket board will address the issue with the IPL franchises after April 15, when the countrywide lockdown initiated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi ends.
The central government has suspended all foreign visas until April 15. According to a report in Indian Express, if IPL happens next year than there will be no mega auction. Instead, the status quo will be continued and the franchises can just pick a few players if they want too. Originally, the mega auction was supposed to take place in 2021 with franchises allowed to retain a few players while the rest were supposed to go under the hammer.
“IPL will not happen this year. It will now happen next year. We all know how the situation is at the moment in the country and no one will take any risk. One can’t have social distancing in the stadium. It’s better to play IPL next year. Also, no mega auction will take place. We will inform the franchises once we get final confirmation from the Indian government, the same season can continue next season,” the Indian Express report further added.
Earlier this month, a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs briefed the media in New Delhi and urged the sports federations to decide wisely on holding events. “Think it is for the organisers to decide whether to go ahead with it or not,” Dammu Ravi, additional secretary, MEA and coordinator for COVID-19, had said.
The 60-game tournament generates more than $11 billion a year to the Indian economy and Chinese mobile-maker Vivo has already paid $330 million to be the top sponsor for 2018-2022.