Lockdown 4.0: Will IPL 2020 be held? MHA allows opening of stadia without spectators

On Sunday, the Modi government released a new set of guidelines for the fourth lockdown (third extension) which would gladden cricket fans as it didn’t completely rule out the Indian Premier League.

A notice by MHA states: “All cinema halls, shopping malls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places. Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open; however, spectators will not be allowed.”

Ergo, while spectators won’t be allowed, it does leave the room open for the Indian Premier League to take place behind closed doors.

Earlier, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had congratulated the BMC for taking over Wankhede Stadium but Aaditya Thackeray poured cold water over the idea and wrote: “Sanjay ji, we can’t take the grounds of the stadiums or playgrounds because they have a mud base and they won’t be usable during monsoons. An open space with a solid/ concrete base is usable and it’s being done already.”

Later, BMC civic commissioner I S Chahal said that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is not going to take over premises of the Wankhede stadium for quarantine facility, as open grounds will not be useful for the purpose during the upcoming monsoon.

"The BMC has already increased its bed capacity to 50,000. We will soon achieve the capacity of one lakh beds," Chahal told reporters.

On reports of the BMC's move to take over some premises of the Wankhede stadium for quarantine facility, he said, "We are not taking over the cricket stadium or any other open space because in Mumbai it sometimes rains continuously for a week. It will not be useful at all for the administration to take care of people."

"We need to think before taking over any ground for COVID-19 treatment ahead of the monsoon. Even Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had instructed me to consider monsoon challenges before making any plans for a new facility (for COVID-19 patients)," he said.

IPL back on?

The BCCI had suspended the IPL last month.

"...the IPL Governing Council of the BCCI has decided that the IPL 2020 Season will be suspended till further notice," said BCCI secretary Jay Shah in a statement.

The IPL, which was to run till May 24 as per the original schedule, was first postponed till April 15 after the government-imposed restrictions on entry of foreigners due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. The travel bar meant that no international player could compete in the tournament if it went ahead on time.

Fans will hope that perhaps there could be something to cheer about amid the doom and gloom. The Bundesliga – German football league – kicked off this weekend and we will have to wait and see if the IPL follows suit.

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