The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday advised against conducting the Indian Premier League (IPL) which is scheduled to commence on March 29 at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. However, the ministry said that the final decision lies with the organisers of the T20 cricket league.
The Sports Ministry on Thursday asked all national federations to ensure that any sporting event in India is conducted without any public gathering.
"To deal with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has issued advisories and advised the state governments to take appropriate action under the Epidemic Diseases Act,1897.
"You are advised to adhere to the advisories issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and ensure that no public gathering takes place in any sporting event. In the event, the sporting event cannot be avoided, the same could be done without allowing gathering of people, including spectators," the Sports Ministry said in a letter to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and all national sports federations including the BCCI.
Following the Sports Ministry's advise, a source close to BCCI told PTI that the remaining two ODI matches between India and South Africa will be played in empty stadiums.
Also on Thursday, the Madras High Court has asked BCCI to reply by March 23 to a plea regarding cancellation of Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.
The plea was filed by advocate G Alex Benziger and sought a direction of the Central government not to allow the BCCI to conduct the IPL matches from March 29 till May 24 due to coronavirus outbreak.
In Mumbai, a lawyer named Atal Bihari Dubey, has approached Sourav Ganguly the BCCI chief, urging him to postpone or cancel IPL 2020. The advocate has highlighted that IPL might increase in risk of spreading the virus and the situation may go "out of control."
(With input from Agencies)