Will IPL 2020 dodge the Coronavirus bouncer?

While BCCI is said to be working out solutions to make it possible to go ahead with the tournament, the government authorities have left it to the organisers to take the final call

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Mar 13, 2020 8:53 AM
IPL 2020

The pall of the coronavirus gloom seems to have heavily descended upon the latest edition of the Indian Premier League but there still seems to be some hope.

According to sources, BCCI is still set to hold the league and is working out solutions to make it possible to go ahead with the tournament. An announcement to this effect is expected soon.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has said that the Cabinet is of the view that big gatherings should be avoided. “We have two options - IPL should be done without spectators or else matches should be postponed,” he has said.

Meanwhile, an MEA spokesperson on Thursday said: “At the briefing today, some general observations were made on holding large sporting events in India. Our view is that this is a decision to be taken by the organisers. No specific recommendations have been sought or made by MEA regarding hosting IPL or any other sporting event in India."

BCCI authorities have abstained from commenting on their next move and want things to take its natural course. The order from the government reads as follows: “All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International organisations, employment and project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13th March 2020 at the port of departure.”

Given IPL is a star-studded tournament with players travelling to India from all across the world, some have contested that there is a possibility of players travelling to the country on employment or project visas.

About 60 players from across the world, including the likes of Pat Cummins (Kolkata Knight Riders), Glenn Maxwell (Kings XI Punjab), Chris Morris (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Sheldon Cottrell (Kings XI Punjab), Nathan Coulter-Nile, (Mumbai Indians) and Shimron Hetmyer (Delhi Capitals) are expected to travel to India for the 13th season of IPL that is scheduled to kick start on March 29.

Given the coronavirus situation, other big sporting events across the world too have been called off temporarily, the NBA, La Liga, National Hockey League, UEFA Champions League and ISL for instance.

As reported on Thursday, BCCI was also said to be contemplating carrying on the tournament in empty stadiums so that stakeholders like the team owners and broadcasters did not lose out on their money. 

According to a source close to the developments, “If IPL gets cancelled BCCI will lose approximately Rs 4,000 crore, whereas Star India, the official broadcaster of the league, will get one more extension.”

Franchise owners too will have to bear the cost of cancellation as they will lose ticket revenue, central sponsorships and on-ground sponsorships.  

Some of the brands which are already on board in various capacities are too feeling the pressure. Though if the league gets cancelled, the sponsors will get one more year to stay associated.  

 It now remains to be seen if the air of gloom will at all clear up to make way for some cheer.

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