New Delhi: The Indian Premier League franchises might be working overtime with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to find ways to make the 13th edition of the IPL a reality – even when the coronavirus outbreak has brought life to a standstill — but they are subconsciously ready to see the league get cancelled this season.
An official of one of the franchises said that the owners will have a conference call at 6 p.m. Monday, but things are getting a little dangerous as far as the pandemic is concerned.
“We are having a conference call today in the evening and we will discuss the situation, but just look around. Schools, colleges, malls, theaters have all been closed. In fact, even gyms have closed now after the fresh directive from the health department. So, in such a scenario, it is only obvious that we might get to a situation where the league may have to be called off for a season,” the official said.
Another official said that it was unanimously decided in the meeting with BCCI that safety is a priority and we all stand united in this. And considering how things stand, they might have to give the league a miss this year. Asked if the franchises are ready for the losses they will incur, the official said there was no other choice.
“See, we will be having basic loses of around Rs 15-20 crore which comes with paying salaries and other things that come with the successful organization of the league. But there are other loses as well like those that come from merchandise sales etc. While tickets and all are insured, these are loses which the franchises will have to bear if the tournament doesn’t happen. But then, we all realise that nothing beats human safety,” the official said.
While both the BCCI and the IPL franchises have spoken about the need to have the government allow foreign players to come in, the question is whether the foreign boards will allow their players to participate in these trying conditions. An official of one of the franchises said that too was a scenario that was being taken into consideration.
“Rightly pointed, even as we keep talking about getting foreign players their visas, what also needs to be checked is whether the foreign boards will allow their players to come in if and when the government makes an exception for the players. While all boards want the IPL to happen at present, you never know what the call will be at the end of the month. It all depends on whether we see a drastic positive change in the situation,” the official said.
The government had March 11 cancelled all visas, except for a few official categories, till April 15 in the wake of the growing coronavirus scare. In the meeting held at Nirman Bhavan in the national capital, it was decided that all existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/international organisations, employment and project visas, stand suspended till April 15.
The Sports Ministry also followed this up by making it clear that all sporting events should be cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. And, if it is unavoidable, the events should be held behind closed doors so as to avoid mass gatherings.