Postpone IPL or play matches without spectators: Health Minister

Postpone IPL or play matches without spectators: Health Minister
After discussing the matter, the cabinet is of the view that IPL should be held without spectators or else matches should be postponed, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope (inset) said

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Maharashtra’s Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday said the cabinet has decided that the Indian Premier League (IPL) should either be postponed or played behind closed doors.

“The cabinet discussed the matter regarding IPL and we are of the view that big gatherings should be avoided. We have two options, IPL should be done without spectators or else matches should be postponed,” Tope told reporters.

The Health Minister’s statement comes amid a rise in coronavirus cases in the state. As of Friday, 14 patients have tested positive for COVID-19 in Maharashtra.

The Health Ministry has also issued guidelines and has asked all federations to avoid large public gatherings. Further, in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country, the Central Government recently suspended all visas to India till April 15.

The decision to stop visas has also affected the entry of foreign players who play in the IPL as they travel to the country under the Business Visa category.

Earlier in the day, sources within the IPL’s governing council confirmed that the foreign players would not be available for the tournament due to the visa restrictions.

“Yes, foreign players will not be available. We will discuss this and other issues at our governing council meeting scheduled for March 14,” a source in IPL governing council was quoted as saying.

The 13th edition of IPL is set to commence from March 29. Per the existing schedule, the first match will take place between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.

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