COVID-19 — IPL GC meeting on Saturday

To discuss how to handle the coronavirus threat to the forthcoming competition

Updated - March 11, 2020 11:03 pm IST

Published - March 11, 2020 09:54 pm IST - MUMBAI

Brijesh Patel.

Brijesh Patel.

The Governing Council of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will meet here on Saturday to discuss the imminent threat of COVID-19 that’s set to affect the T20 league’s 13th edition. The decision came on a day when the Maharashtra government had a discussion to propose that the IPL games in the State, including the season-opener and the final, be staged behind closed doors.

The Maharashtra government’s proposal comes a day after the Karnataka government wrote to the Union Government to disallow matches to be staged in Karnataka.

Business interest

With two of the nine States, where 60 IPL games are scheduled to be played from March 29, voicing their concern, the IPL authorities will have to act swiftly to ensure the business interest of the league is taken care of without compromising safety of players.

The GC meeting, to be chaired by Brijesh Patel, is set to be attended by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah. With the secretary’s father being the Union Home Minister, a possible solution is likely to be tabled before the GC.

With Karnataka and Maharashtra — two States with positive COVID-19 cases on the rise — having initiated action despite the Maharashtra government supporting a veterans’ cricket league now, other State governments are likely to step in and oppose IPL, which invariably finds itself in some controversy ahead of every edition.

While GC members are tightlipped, The Hindu understands that the IPL may well be forced to follow the present global trend of staging matches in front of empty stands. The IPL revenue model is such that the gate receipts don’t account for a major revenue factor, even for the franchises who retain a major chunk of the income through sale of tickets.

Also read:   Coronavirus | Sports events hit worldwide by outbreak of COVID-19

A franchise official, citing anonymity, admitted that “playing in front of empty stands, although a last resort, is better than not playing at all”. But with franchises having little say in the organisation of the IPL, the next few days will decide the fate of the 2020 edition.

Rahane’s views

Meanwhile, Ajinkya Rahane, who will be a part of the Delhi Capitals this year, hoped that the BCCI and IPL GC find an amicable solution in consultation with the franchises.

“BCCI and IPL governing council will take a decision. I cannot comment on it because I feel they are the best judges and they will take a call on this. I am sure BCCI and governing council will discuss it with the teams and come up with a solution. I am sure they will have the best answers,” said Rahane at a promotional event.

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