Indian Premier League 2020 has been suspended until April 15 following global concerns surrounding the now-pandemic Coronavirus (COVID-19).
"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," a BCCI media release signed by board secretary Jay Shah stated.
"The BCCI will work closely with the Government of India along with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and all other relevant Central and State Government departments in this regard."
Cricbuzzunderstands that there have been concerns from the franchises over the possibilities of conducting the games, even two weeks later. Governments in Delhi, Maharashtra have already voiced their apprehensions to sporting bodies. While the details of a renewed schedule are yet to be sketched out, there is the possibility of moving away from a traditional home-away format if venues are set to be limited.
Board President Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah will meet representatives of each of the eight franchises and other stakeholders during Saturday's Governing Council (GC) meet to apprise them of specifics and a potential road-map.
The conduct of the 13th season of the T20 tournament, originally scheduled to begin on March 29, had come under a cloud of uncertainty after India's sports ministry issued an advisory to all the National Sports Federations, including BCCI, against public gathering in any sporting event.
The advisory further stated that if the conduct of the event couldn't be avoided, it should be held behind closed doors, without the spectators. The Ministry of External Affairs went a step further, recommending to the BCCI not to go ahead with the tournament.
These advisories followed a day after the Government of India imposed stringent restrictions on the issuance of visas to India, which itself was a response to the rapid spread of the virus that forced the World Health Organization (WHO) to attribute pandemic status to it.
Several global sporting events including portions of the ATP Tour (Tennis), the Serie A (Italian football) and the NBA (National Basketball Association) have been suspended because of the rapid escalation of the virus-related cases. Cricket, too, has been affected across the world with the ongoing Chappell-Hadlee series between Australia and New Zealand and the PSL games at Karachi being played behind closed doors as a precautionary measure.
The BCCI has already confirmed that the two ODIs against South Africa, in Lucknow and Kolkata, will be played in front of empty stands while tournaments such as Road Safety T20 series (India), Australia Women's tour of South Africa , Africa T20 cup and World XI vs Asia XI have been suspended.
According to the WHO, the novel Coronavirus has affected 118 nations so far. Around 120,000 people have been affected by the virus with over 4,300 deaths across the globe. In India, 79 people have been laid low by the virus.