The coronavirus, a fast-spreading dangerous disease has claimed the lives of 3,100 people and infected more than 1 lakh people globally so far. Furthermore, it has affected the international calendar of various sporting events all across the world. The deadly outbreak has even put all-important Tokyo Olympics 2020 under huge doubt.
Though there are some cases of coronavirus infection that have been reported in India, the IPL Governing Council chairman Brijesh Patel ruled out any threat to the showpiece event while also adding that officials are keeping a tab on the situation. So far, 43 people have been tested positive for COVID-19 in India and the majority of them are Italian tourists.
According to the officials, no deaths have been reported yet. Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that discussions are on in the government on whether to postpone the IPL due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases in India. However, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly confirmed that IPL will go ahead as planned while adding that BCCI will take all protection against coronavirus.
IPL unlikely to go behind closed doors. Recently, there have been suggestions about having Indian Premier League closed doors as the games will be available on television including live streaming on digital platforms. Nonetheless, a senior BCCI official on the condition of anonymity added that having IPL behind closed doors is not an option.
“Did you guys check out what was the attendance during the ATK vs Bengaluru FC Indian Super League play-off game? It was close to 60,000 (50,000 plus). So why would we bar public viewing?” he questioned.The major problem with IPL is that all of the eight franchises have fan engagement activities which are a part of their sponsorship commitments. However, it is still not clear whether franchises will cut down the number of fan engagement programmes that they host during the course of the marquee event.
It has been learnt that health advisory on ignoring large gatherings and the South African team’s medical unit including their security officers are expected to take necessary measures to make sure that the players don’t get surrounded for selfies.
“Players have been briefed on preventive measures while they are travelling overseas. These measures cover a variety of protocols to follow for the safety of both themselves and those around them. Fan interaction, selfies and pictures were included in the brief,” said a reliable source close to the South African team management as quoted by IndiaToday.