With the number of coronavirus-affected cases touching 73 in India, not wanting to take any chances, the BCCI on Friday (March 13) suspended the start of this year’s edition from March 29 to April 15.
“The Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided to suspend IPL 2020 till 15th April 2020, as a precautionary measure against the ongoing Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) situation,” the BCCI said in a statement.
The decision comes in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused massive upheaval across the world, leaving the global sporting calendar doubtful.
“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 Board stated.
With the 13th edition’s postponement, the league’s stakeholders, including Star Network and its advertisers are set to face heavy revenue shortages and losses.
According to a report in the Economic Times, last year, the IPL witnessed over ₹550 crores spent on advertising as compared to ₹460 crore in 2018. The change in schedule will cost the eight franchises, participating in the $6 billion tournament, about 40 per cent of their sponsorship earnings.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi government said it will not allow any sporting activity in the national capital which has a gathering of more than 200 people due to the health crisis.
🚨Announcement🚨: #VIVOIPL suspended till 15th April 2020 as a precautionary measure against the ongoing Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) situation.
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) March 13, 2020
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Friday said that the national capital will not have any sporting events for a month to contain the spread of the deadly infection that has sent the world into turmoil with close to 5,000 deaths so far.
The move comes hours after the BCCI responded to Delhi government’s decision by listing the alternate venues that could play host.
“Lucknow has been wanting to host IPL matches for a while now. If it’s a closed-door tournament, it really doesn’t matter where it is played,” a BCCI source told PTI.
Before Delhi, Karnataka has also expressed its unwillingness to host IPL matches, while Maharashtra has banned the sale of tickets.
The Board said it will work closely with the central government to tackle the situation.
Several sporting events internationally and in India have been postponed or cancelled due to the travel restrictions that the spread of the virus has triggered all across.
(With inputs from agencies)