New Delhi: With pressure mounting on the Indian cricket board to take a decision on this year's edition of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) in the wake of growing threat of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, the BCCI on Friday suspended the start of the tournament 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.
This came hours after Delhi government said it will not allow any sporting activity in the national capital due to the health crisis. Delhi is home to the Delhi Capitals IPL franchise.
India has more than 70 positive coronavirus cases so far and recorded its first COVID-19 death on Thursday in Karnataka.
"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.
The Board said it will work closely with the central government to tackle the situation. The IPL is set to be a closed-door affair owing to the global crisis, which has caused close to 5,000 deaths.
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.
More double headers in a 40-day window
There is a possibility that the tournament will feature more double-headers than previously planned and at least five optional venues are being kept ready after state governments of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi refused permission for the games.
In case the BCCI is able to start the tournament on April 15, it will be a 40-day competition as the ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP) of other international teams will make it virtually impossible to stretch it beyond that point....