IPL 2020 suspended till further notice
The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL ) was suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after PM Narendra Modi announced an extension in the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision comes at a time when the country continues to battle with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. IPL was initially supposed to start from March 29, with a match between defending champions Mumbai Indians and MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings. But the start of the tournament was pushed to April 15, after the government decided to not issue visa to foreign nationals and eventually imposed a 21-day lockdown in the country.
Here is what the official statement says:
Due to the evolving global health concerns regarding COVID-19 and lockdown measures implemented by the Government of India to contain the spread of the pandemic, the IPL Governing Council of the BCCI has decided that the IPL 2020 Season will be suspended till further notice.
The health and safety of the nation and everyone involved in our great sport remains our top priority and as such, the BCCI along with the Franchise Owners, Broadcaster, Sponsors and all the Stakeholders acknowledge that the IPL 2020 season will only commence when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
BCCI will continue to monitor and review the situation regarding a potential start date in close partnership with all of its stakeholders and will continue to take guidance from the Government of India, State Governments and other State Regulatory bodies.
“In my discussions with the state governments, and various stakeholders, one thing was unanimous: That we should extend the lockdown. So, I announce today that the lockdown will be extended till May 3,” PM Modi said on Tuesday during his address to the nation.
When contacted, a top BCCI official told Hindustan Times that conducting the edition in the summer looks very bleak. “For all practical purposes no sport can be held for now,” said the official. “All the talk about playing IPL behind closed doors, it is also not a possibility. We will continue to assess the situation,” he added.
BCCI has been trying to chart a course to try and have a tournament, even if it was in a curtailed format. The IPL is a big money spinner for the sport of cricket and that is the reason why scores of former cricketers and pundits have supported the idea of finding a place for the tournament in the international calendar after the situation comes under control. The International Cricket Council (ICC) too has some tough decisions to make as the T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in Australia in October. Several other bilateral tours have been put on hold due to the pandemic.
If the season is eventually scrapped then this will be the first time that the tournament will not be held since its inception in 2008. The tournament has been played in South Africa and partly in the middle-east earlier due to the general elections. But even that is not an option this time around given the global nature of the Covid-19 crisis.
The IPL is a huge money spinner for the BCCI and the cancellation will cost them a huge sum of revenue. Broadcaster Star Sports and Hotstar (Star India) are also expected to take a huge hit.