No foreign players will be available to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) till 15 April due to visa restrictions imposed by the government to contain the novel coronavirus threat, casting fresh doubts on the fate of the flagship sports event, reports ANI.
“The foreign players who play in the IPL come under the Business Visa category. As per the government’s directive, they cannot come till April 15,” said a BCCI official speaking to the PTI. This year’s edition of the IPL is scheduled to kick-off from 29 March.
Earlier in the day, the World Health Organisation had declared ‘COVID-19’ outbreak a ‘pandemic’. Following this decision, the Government of India has suspended all tourist visas and e-visas granted on or before March 11. All incoming visitors including Indian nationals are advised against non-essential travel because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, uncertainty looms over IPL due to the corona outbreak as there have been rising demands to the BCCI to either cancel or postpone this year’s IPL. This comes after major sporting events are getting cancelled globally due to coronavirus outbreak. National Basketball Association (NBA) has also suspended its season after a player tested positive for coronavirus.
A petition has also been filed seeking postponement of the Indian Premier League due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, the Supreme Court on Thursday refused to accord urgent hearing on a plea seeking postponement of Indian Premier League. A vacation bench of justices UU Lalit and Aniruddha Bose told the petitioner that he could mention the matter for urgent listing before the regular bench on March 16 when the top court will re-open after the Holi break.
“This is not a matter which cannot wait till re-opening of the court. You can mention it before the regular court on March 16,” the Supreme Court bench said to advocate Mohan Babu Agarwal, who has filed the petition.
Agarwal told the bench that IPL 2020 is scheduled to start from March 29 but no safety measures have been declared to prevent the spread of coronavirus during the matches, which are likely to witness over 40,000 spectators.
In another incident, a spectator who had attended the women’s T-20 final between India and Australia in Melbourne on Sunday has been diagnosed with Coronavirus. Melbourne Cricket Ground management said a person who attended India-Australia Women’s T20 World Cup Final on March 8 was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Coronavirus is a deadly respiratory disease which has killed more than 4,600 and so far more than 1,26,0000 cases are reported globally, according to the World Health Organisation. The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019.
In India, 52 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, the latest being two cases, one in Delhi and the other in Rajasthan. The transmission of the virus takes place when someone who is infected comes in contact with another person. According to medical experts, coughing, sneezing or even shaking hands with an infected person can cause exposure.