The widespread deadly virus COVID-19 has affected even the sporting encounters, businesses meetings and even common human social gatherings. Various sporting leagues across the world have chosen to either cancel this season or to postpone the respective leagues. Some football leagues across the globe will be played behind closed doors in order to prevent the spread of the virus. The NBA took the hard decision and suspended the league until further notice.
These decisions by various sporting leagues have raised several question marks on the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 season.
We take a look at the possibilities that are most likely to occur concerning the impact of Covid-19 on IPL.
1. IPL behind closed doors:
One of the most likely possibilities is that the IPL Season 13 could be held behind closed doors, with no access whatsoever to fans. The empty stadium will devoid the players of all franchises from the appropriate atmosphere inside the stadium. Several sporting events across the globe are going to be conducted in this manner. But keeping in mind the revenue that is generated from ticket sales, franchises wont be agreeing to this move.
A senior executive at one of the franchises said that stadium tickets contribute significantly to team revenue with each one playing seven home matches.
“The ticket revenue is Rs 15-30 crore for various teams. If we are forced to play (without spectators), I hope the BCCI will compensate the team owners.”
With the visa restriction imposed on foreign players, it is all but certain that the overseas players wouldn't be able to come to India till April 15. The date has been set keeping the current situation in mind, with the government hopeful of tackling the challenges in a month's time. The organisers, hence, could decide to postpone the start of the league and possibly goback to the old format with multiple matches being held in one day.
3. League cancellation:
With the current circumstances and the high risk of coronavirus spreading further, the authorities may not be left with many options but to cancel the league if the number of positive cases increases. With the cricketing calendar of the Indian team packed with new assignments every month, a postponement might not even be possible if the format is to be kept the same.
“Postponing or cancelling IPL is not even a part of discussion,” said a highly placed BCCI source. There is too much at stake.”
5. Hosting matches in Corona free States:
One of the BCCI source said that one option would be to conduct matches at three-four venues in states such as Jharkhand, where not a single case has been detected so far.
“If a few state governments are not going to allow matches in their states, we can always look at other venues. We are closely monitoring the situation and a final call will be taken by the IPL Governing Council”.
There are several possibilities and the fate of the tournament will be decided in the IPL Governing Council meeting which will be held on March 14.