In the backdrop of coronavirus threat, India’s sports ministry has issued a letter to all the National Sports Federations, including the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), to “ensure that no public gathering takes place in any sporting event” in the country.
A part of the letter read: “You are advised to adhere to the advisories issued by the Ministry of Health and Family and Welfare and ensure that no public gathering takes place in any sporting event. In the event the sporting event cannot be avoided, the same could be done without allowing gathering of people, including spectators.”
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted out the letter on Thursday (March 12) for better understanding among the concerned national governing bodies across sports in India.
There are many confusions amongst the athletes at this moment. Two Advisories are issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports for matches abroad and the domestic. There's no restrictions on playing but guidelines to be followed strictly in the larger interest of health. pic.twitter.com/RoohGcsOma
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) March 12, 2020
After this letter, it is all but confirmed that the 13th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to be either postponed or played in empty stadiums. However, there has not been any official statement from the BCCI or the IPL Governing Council so far on the same. The 2020 edition of the IPL begins on March 29.
Also, India vs South Africa ODI series kicked off in Dharamsala on Thursday – match abandoned due to rain. BCCI is expected to follow the advisory in the next two games, which are scheduled to be held on March 15 and 18 in Lucknow and Kolkata respectively.
BCCI, on its part, has been monitoring the situation. Ahead of the first ODI at the HPCA stadium, the medical staff of the Indian team briefed the players, support staff, State Associations about the standard guidelines handed out by the WHO and the Central Government.