IPL 2020 has been postponed till April 15 due to the growing concern over the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak.
The BCCI top brass consisting of president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah and top management of the IPL took this decision to postpone the tournament. The 13th edition of IPL was scheduled to start on March 29. However, the government advised sports authorities to not have sporting events where fans gathered in huge numbers.
The IPL has communicated the decision to all eight franchises on Friday and will be meeting the owners on Saturday in Mumbai to further discuss the matter.
The BCCI in a statement said that the IPL is suspended until April 15 as a “precautionary measure” against the coronavirus. The statement read, “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,” it further read.
Other high-profile sporting events such as the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League, the NBA and the ATP Tour are already affected by COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak.
To counter the outbreak, the Indian government has placed severe travel restrictions for people traveling in as well out of India. As the virus is highly contagious and can be spread through contact, the government has mandated that sporting organizations would need to adhere to the Health Ministry’s guidelines to avoid mass gatherings.
Initially, BCCI wanted IPL to go as business as usual but the pressure on the BCCI was building up as state governments across India such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, and Delhi on Friday declared that they would not allow mass gatherings, something an IPL match would easily attract.
Before arriving at the decision to defer the tournament, the IPL had spoken with some of the franchises for their views. The team owners though wanted the tournament to go ahead in whatever form even if that meant it to be played behind closed doors.
According to one franchise chief executive, an option was discussed to allow no spectators during the first few weeks of the tournament and then upon review resume ticket sales.