Coronavirus concerns over IPL 2020 games in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai

A petition has already been filed against IPL in High Court amid coronavirus scare.

Rohit Sharma
Mumbai Indians’ captain Rohit Sharma. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

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The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 is still some weeks away but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is facing a tough time in hosting the tournament at a time when the coronavirus scare has rocked all quarters. Concerns have been raised over hosting games of the tournament in major cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai because of the health scare as the games will see large gatherings that are being advised against as a precaution against the virus’ spread.

While Mumbai is the home ground to defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI), Bengaluru serves as the home base to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Chennai to MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium is, in fact, the venue of the inaugural match between the MI and CSK on March 29 and Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has already written to the Centre asking the feasibility of holding IPL games.

Karnataka follows Maharashtra’s footsteps

Karnataka has also seconded Maharashtra’s thought as its Education/Health Minister K Sudhakar has also sought guidance from the Center over holding IPL games in Bengaluru. “I have written to the Centre saying IPL matches are scheduled to be held in Karnataka. We have asked for the Centre’s guidance on what action we should take (in holding IPL matches in Bengaluru),” he said.

Jawaid Akhtar, Karnataka’s additional chief secretary for health and family welfare, said the state government will closely follow what steps its counterpart in Maharashtra is taking in this regard. According to a report in the Hindustan Times, the Marine Drive Residents Association has written to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and Mumbai Police requesting cancellation of IPL matches scheduled at the Wankhede Stadium.

The body’s general secretary, Nikhil Banker, said: “In today’s situation, we are scared of our health security because of such public gatherings. For health concerns, any public gathering should be restricted, and even IPL should not be allowed.” From the municipal body, it was said that they were not yet restricting or prohibiting public gatherings but asking people to be safe. It said people entering Mumbai from affected areas were also being screened.

Madras High Court Advocate Alex Benziger, meanwhile, filed a petition in the court on Tuesday seeking a similar order and the court is set to hear the petition on Thursday. According to Benziger, coronavirus yet doesn’t have a specific treatment and several sporting events across the globe have become uncertain. He sought the court to issue an order to the BCCI whose chief Sourav Ganguly though said that there was no change in the IPL’s schedule.