I hope that you and your family are healthy and safe. Through this letter, I am intending to share an update with you on the activities of BCCI and various steps taken by us towards resumption of both domestic and international cricket.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. On the same day, the Government of India suspended all visas to India except those of certain limited categories and a high-level group of ministers was constituted to review, monitor and evaluate the preparedness and measures taken regarding the management of COVID-19 in the country. On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the Government of India announced a nationwide lock-down for 21 days. This lock-down has been extended from time to time and is continuing till date in various parts of India at various levels. The city of Mumbai was in a state of complete lock-down till recently. As on date, there are more than 2,50,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in India and the number is increasing at a rapid pace. Our country has started to open up, but organised sporting activities are yet to begin. Domestic travel has been partially initiated and international travel may start in the coming few months.
The BCCI’s headquarters in Mumbai has been completely shut since the start of the lock-down in late March this year. However the Office Bearers and most of the staff have been working remotely via video conference facility to ensure that all essential day to day functions of the organisation goes on. We understand that offices of all State Cricket Associations were also shut and only recently they have started to function in order to take care of essential work. Cricketing activities have come to a complete standstill and it seems that it will take a couple of months to resume training and competitive cricket in India.
The IPL 2020 was scheduled to start from 29th March 2020, however it has been indefinitely postponed. The BCCI is working on all possible options to ensure that we are able to stage the IPL this year, even if it means playing the tournament in empty stadiums. The fans, franchisees, players, broadcasters, sponsors and all other stakeholders are keenly looking forward to the possibility of IPL being hosted this year. Recently a lot of players, both from India and other countries, participating in IPL have also shown their keenness on being a part of this year IPL. We are optimistic and the BCCI will shortly decide on the future course of action on this.
The domestic cricket season 2019 – 2020 was nearing completion when the Covid-19 pandemic struck India. Fortunately most of our domestic cricket for the last season was completed. Moving ahead, the BCCI is in the process of planning the domestic competitions for the next cricketing season. We are working on various formats and options in our endeavour to ensure that various domestic tournaments are held, they stay competitive and participation is feasible. The BCCI will come up with more details on this front over the next couple of weeks.
The Covid-19 virus is highly contagious and BCCI has taken cognisance of the same. The BCCI is in the process of developing a Covid-19 Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) for all State Cricket Associations. Essentially this SOP is being made with a view of providing our Members with a standard set of guidelines which will help the Associations to resume cricket in their respective areas. The BCCI has engaged medical specialists for the drafting of this SOP.
During the past couple of months, when the country was under lock-down, the BCCI has made all efforts to release due and payable funds/grants to its various Members. Associations which have made proper submissions of their accounts and fund utilisation certificate, have already received their grants. The BCCI will endeavour to release due and payable funds/grants for the remaining Associations as well, once all documentation formalities are completed from their end. The BCCI is also regularly making payments to its vendors and suppliers.
I would like to assure all our Members that the Office Bearers at BCCI are continuously monitoring the pandemic situation and all efforts are being made to ensure that cricket resumes soon. We look forward to your continued support.