'It is not about sport but about the safety of citizens' - Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on the possibility of IPL 2020

‘It is not about sport but about the safety of citizens’ – Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on the possibility of IPL 2020

The Indian government has left the decision to the BCCI itself but has banned mass gathering of people even for sporting events.

Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni
Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

The Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) is yet to take a final call on the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League 2020, which has been deferred to April 15, from its original date of March 29. This has been done due to the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped not only the country but the entire world.

However, with the number of cases of positive coronavirus patients in India rising every day, it seems that the clouds over the IPL 2020 are becoming dense as well. The Indian government has suspended all foreign visas till April 15, which means no overseas player can enter the country amid the Coronavirus outbreak. The franchise owners, the IPL Governing Council and the BCCI have met on several occasions to discuss various options.

This includes the postponement of the tournament to a later date, playing a reduced number of games in a shorten IPL, canceling this year’s event altogether or having the tournament overseas. Though the Indian fans and cricket board is highly optimistic of the COVID-19 threat diminishing in the coming 20 days.  The Indian government has left the decision to the BCCI itself but has banned mass gathering of people even for sporting events.

We will see what happens after 15 April, says Kiren Rijiju

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju shared his thoughts on the future of IPL 13 and was quoted saying by timesnownews.com as, “IPL is already suspended, we will see what happens after 15th. BCCI may not be under us but this is not about sport but about the safety of citizens.” This was an indication by the minister as he feels the board must keep the safety of people in mind more than that of anything.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared coronavirus as a pandemic and this has brought the sporting events throughout the world to a standstill with the tournaments like the La-Liga, the Champions League and other football events, the Olympic trials have halted with doubts over Japan’s ability to host the event altogether given the spread of the virus across the globe.

Rijiju added that while all training centres in India will be closed till April 15 and the athletes who have already qualified for the showpiece event or the ones who are in consideration will be later allowed to train under stern watchfulness. “All training centres will be closed till 15th April and all camps suspended. Only athletes qualified for Olympics and on verge of qualification will be allowed to train under strict vigilance in training centres,” added Rijiju.