Sports ministry to federations: Defer all events till April 15

Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju says any athlete arriving from outside India will have to stay in quarantine as per provisions.

Representative image: The sports ministry on Thursday advised all National Federations to refrain from conducting tournaments and selection trials till April 15.   -  H. Vibhu

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government on Thursday directed all sports organisations and their affiliate units against holding any sports events, including competitions or selection trials, till April 15.

However, for athletes preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, they may be exempt from this, subject to the following restrictions:

i) No exposure to athlete be allowed from outside in the campus where training is underway,

ii) No coach, technical/support staff, athlete etc. presently in the training camp and not staying in the training campus be allowed to interact or mingle with trainee athletes without following the quarantine protocols.

Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju told the media that any athlete arriving from outside India, having visited a country falling in a high-risk zone for the Coronavirus, will have to stay in quarantine as per provisions.

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An athlete coming from abroad outside this zone will have to self-isolate themselves, Rijiju declared.

Speaking on how the current situation has affected Olympic preparation, the Sports Minister said, “Nobody should raise a question about the Olympics at the moment, nobody knows what the situation will be in three months time. However, we have to respond to an emerging situation as per the directions of the international bodies and respective sovereign governments.”

He noted that at the present moment nothing was more important than the sportsperson’s health.

I-League to remain suspended

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) had earlier decided to suspend the I-League till March 31. The recent advisory, however, is set to push the league back further and will raise questions as to whether the league will continue at all, considering Mohun Bagan has already bagged the title.

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