Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Mar 13 (ANI): The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday decided to postpone the Indian Premier League (IPL) to April 15, 2020, as a precautionary measure against the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
There was speculation as to what the board will decide amidst the ongoing coronavirus scare, and finally postponing the tournament came up as the solution.
"The BCCI is concerned and sensitive about all its stakeholders, and public health in general, and it is taking all necessary steps to ensure that, all people related to IPL including fans have a safe cricketing experience," the BCCI said in an official statement.
The board has also assured that it will work in unison with the Sports Ministry and will adhere to the guidelines issued.
Earlier in the day, Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia announced that all sporting activities, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), attracting a large crowd turnout have been banned amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
"Sports activities, seminars, conferences, we have decided to shut them. No sports event including IPL would be allowed in Delhi until the next order. Coronavirus is spreading, we have decided to maintain social distance, IPL is a big event, many people come from various corners, I would also like to appeal to the people," Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia, told reporters here.
Amidst coronavirus fears, the cricketing board had mainly two options-- either postpone IPL or play it behind closed doors.
The Central government has suspended all visas to India till April 15 as part of measures to contain the spread of the pandemic. If the board decided to go on with the tournament as planned, then the availability of foreign players would have been in doubt.
The 13th edition of IPL was scheduled to commence from March 29, with Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings meeting at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai for the first match.
World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday had declared the coronavirus outbreak a 'pandemic' and expressed deep concern.
The coronavirus disease was first detected in Wuhan in China's Hubei province, in late December, and has since spread worldwide.
More than 127,000 people have been infected with COVID-19, with over 4,700 having died and 68,000 recovered. (ANI)