The Central Government has made it clear to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that any match that has to be played amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak will take place behind closed doors. And the franchises are ‘okay’ with the idea of the IPL 2020 being held without spectators. But they wish for their foreign players to be made available from the start of the season.
Speaking to IANS, an official of one of the franchises said that with the government making its stance clear and the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring the coronavirus outbreak a ‘pandemic’, there is no other option than to have matches behind closed doors.
“See, the gate money is no issue as these things are insured. As for the fans, it is disappointing, but we don’t really have much of an option as we have to abide by the diktat of the central government, and even WHO has declared the outbreak a “pandemic”.
“This makes it clear that if we have to have an IPL this year, it has to be behind closed doors. So now, would we rather want an IPL where fans can watch the games on television, or we don’t want an IPL in 2020? So, we are okay with that, but the BCCI must sit down and speak to the central government to make an exception and allow the foreign players to come in before April 15 as the IPL loses its sheen otherwise,” the official said.
An official of another franchise made it clear that the BCCI must ensure that they sit down with the concerned government departments and ensure that at least the foreign players are handed permission as they are already touring around the world.
“See, the Proteas are already in the country, so as per the directive, they can easily stay back. Also, if you see, the Englishmen are already in Sri Lanka, and the Kiwis are playing the Aussies in Australia, so they are anyway on the road. We just need the BCCI to sit down with the governmental departments and get us the clearance so that we can have the IPL with foreign players. The whole tournament will lose its charm if the foreign players are not there. It is the biggest cricket carnival in the world for a reason,” the official was quoted as saying to IANS.
The Central Government on Wednesday cancelled all visas, except for a few official categories, till April 15 in the wake of COVID-19 threat.
The BCCI will take a final call on the matter after their meeting with the IPL Governing Council in Mumbai on Saturday (March 13).