IPL 2020 on the brink of cancellation

The BCCI is likely to make the announcement once the lockdown is over

MUMBAI: As the pandemic Covid-19 keeps spreading unabated, the hope of even a delayed Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 is fading away. Even as the BCCI has been tight-lipped about the richest cricket tournament in the world, a report in Indian Express says that the entire event is likely to be cancelled.

According to the newspaper, the BCCI is waiting for an official announcement from the government regarding visas. Since a chunk of the players come from foreign countries, the lack of international flights will be a barrier in getting them here. For now, the government has suspended all foreign visas till 15 April.

Currently, the country is on a 21-day lockdown till 15 April. Once the first phase of lockdown is called off, the BCCI will meet with the franchise owners to take a decision. According to Indian Express, there will be status quo on the auctions when the sport resumes next year. Initially, there was to be a mega-auction in 2021 which will not happen now.

The report, citing a source from the IPL administration, spoke of the worries of maintaining social distancing in the stadium. Rather than risk it, a suspension is the better option. With even the June Tokyo Olympics called off for this year, the IPL will not take any chances.

Until now, various authorities such as BCCI president Saurav Ganguly kept mentioning that the IPL may see a shorter version this year but would not be called off. The league was supposed to commence on 29 March.

Star India, which broadcasts the IPL on its network as well as Hotstar, has invested heavily on the tournament broadcast. Star won the rights for the IPL from Sony in 2017 for a period of five years with a whopping $2.55 billion sum. With its huge reach of channels in various languages, the IPL has grown in the last two seasons. For now, the company has not commented on the impact this will have on its overall finances as well as the ad revenues it hoped to recover through the rich tournament.

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