Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Friday said the postponement of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is in the interest of the nation. The BCCI on Friday postponed the IPL to April 15 as a precautionary measure in view of the COVID-19 outbreak. The BCCI stated that it was concerned about all its stakeholders and public health in general, and it was taking all the necessary steps to ensure that, all people related to IPL including fans have a safe cricketing experience.
Speaking to ANI, Rijiju spoke about the advisory issued to all the sports federations and stated that health must be the priority for everybody. The Union Minister further stated that al sports federations have also been instructed to ensure that no large number of people gather for any event.
"We had issued an advisory to all the sports federations including BCCI. So, it is good that they have postponed it. It is in the interest of the nation. It is a health concern, which must be a priority for everybody," Rijiju said.
"In India, the issue of Coronavirus being spread around is something, which is very close to our heart because we have to be very careful. When the Government of India at the highest level has taken a decision, we have asked all the Sports Federations to ensure that there is no large number of people gathering for the event because that may help spread the virus," he added.
Talking about the players who are out of the country to play for different tournaments, Rijiju said, "I have repeatedly clarified. PV Sindhu also called me up. I have also tweeted that those players who are playing outside, especially for those tournaments which are very important for Olympic qualification, they can continue to play. They have to follow the guidelines of those respective countries and they have to maintain certain measures, which will ensure that they are safe."
Meanwhile, the total number of positive cases in India has risen up to 82 and two death have been reported so far.
In his first response after the BCCI's decision, Sourav Ganguly when asked whether the tournament will take place this year said, "Let's stick to the postponement at the moment. We'll see. It is too early to comment anything now."
Speaking about the BCCI's priorities, Ganguly said, "Our priority is safety so we postponed the game." Replying to a query whether the franchisees are happy with the postponement he said, "Nobody has a choice. Even the board does not have a choice." The BCCI is scheduled to meet the owners of the IPL franchises before the start of the IPL Governing Council meeting.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been pushed back to April 15, 2020, due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. The decision was taken on Friday afternoon by the BCCI.
🚨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
More details ➡️ https://t.co/hR0R2HTgGg pic.twitter.com/azpqMPYtoL
An advisory released on Friday afternoon quoted BCCI Secretary Jay Shah and said, "The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to suspend IPL 2020 till 15th April 2020, as a precautionary measure against the ongoing Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. The BCCI will work closely with the Government of India along with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and all other relevant Central and State Government departments in this regard."