All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel has stated that he stands by the decision taken by the organizers of the Indian Super League (ISL) to play the finals of the tournament behind closed doors. The decision has been taken to combat the spread of Coronavirus.
In view of the prevailing Corona virus pandemic and the alert issued by our central government and WHO it will be wise to avoid being a part of crowds at stadiums.@IndianFootball @KirenRijiju @PMOIndia @ILeagueOfficial #CoronavirusPandemic #CoronaOutbreak #coronavirus @WHO— Praful Patel (@praful_patel) March 13, 2020
In a tweet on Friday morning, Patel said that it was important to avoid large crowds at stadiums and following the advisories issued by the government, he fully supports the decision. Patel added that he hoped that the game is not affected and that fans would be able to enjoy the game on television.
The announcement was made on Thursday amidst growing concerns regarding Coronavirus.
The Sports Ministry has asked all national federations, including the BCCI, to follow the Health Ministry's advisory and avoid large gatherings in sports events keeping in mind the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
I fully support this stand & I am hopeful that our beautiful game of football will not be affected & millions of fans would enjoy this game on television & have a wonderful experience.ISL & I League will bring the best of football to you.@KirenRijiju @IndianFootball #Coronavirus— Praful Patel (@praful_patel) March 13, 2020
Sports Secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya told PTI that sporting events in the country can continue but without the presence of a large number of people. "We have asked all the NSFs, including the BCCI, to follow the Health Ministry's latest advisory, which says public gatherings should be avoided in all events, including sporting activities," Julaniya told PTI. "The sporting events can go on but the advisory needs to be followed," he added.
Over 75 people have been confirmed with Coronavirus in India and one death has been reported. A 76-year old man from Karnataka died on Thursday "due to co-morbidity and has also tested positive for COVID-19." A press release went on to state that he had a travel history of visiting Saudi Arabia and also had a known case of hypertension and asthma.
On Wednesday evening, the Union Government announced that all existing visas, barring diplomatic, UN/International Organisations, employment and project visas, will stand suspended till April 15, 2020.
This advisory also applies for people with visa-free travel, and to OCI cardholders, whose visa-free access will be temporarily suspended with effect from March 13, 2020. However, the statement mentioned that any foreign national who intends to travel to India for any compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian Embassy for further clarity or guidance.
World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, outbreak as a pandemic. Globally, around 4,900 people have died due to Coronavirus, with the epicentre being China. The virus has infected around 1,34,000 people globally and has now spread to North America, South America, Europe, New Zealand, and to more than 100 other countries.