The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will not begin on March 29 as per the existing schedule. The tournament is being postponed to April 15th.
In a media release, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said, “The BCCI is concerned and sensitive about all its stakeholders, and public health in general, and it is taking all necessary steps to ensure that, all people related to IPL including fans have a safe cricketing experience.
“The BCCI will work closely with the Government of India along with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and all other relevant Central and State Government departments in this regard,” the statement added.
The Times of India had reported the same on Thursday. The office-bearers of the BCCI, led by president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah, met at the board’s headquarters in Mumbai on Friday to take the call. They were assisted by their operations and logistics team in arriving at the decision.
A meeting of the IPL’s governing council is scheduled for Saturday in Mumbai. Before that meeting, the office-bearers of the Board and members of the governing council were expected to meet all franchises of the league and other important stakeholders to chart out the way forward.
However, with growing voices of concern given the massive threat of Covid-19 at the moment, the BCCI has found it prudent to push the announcement that the league cannot begin as per the current schedule. For now, it puts to rest the heavy speculation that has clouded the league for close to a week now.
“The postponement gives BCCI the time to reassess the situation and have that much more time on hand to take a further call. The postponement will allow them to see if the threat of the virus ceases any time soon, remains in control, or gets worse. Depending on these scenarios and what the central and state governments say, a further call can be taken,” say sources in the know.
At this moment, if overseas players have to arrive in India to participate in the IPL, their visas are either still being processed, pending for lack of necessary permissions, for a better understanding of existing travel routes or being rejected for now.