Will fans be allowed in stadiums soon? BCCI keeps its ‘fingers crossed’

While the first two Tests between India and England will be a closed-door affair in Chennai, the BCCI is mulling over the idea to call the spectators back in the stands for the third and fourth Tests in Ahmedabad.

As per the revised Standard Operating Procedure issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the stadiums have now been allowed to return to full capacity for outdoor events.   -  FILE PHOTO/K.R. DEEPAK

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is mulling over the idea to call the spectators back to the stadiums for the third and fourth Tests against England in Ahmedabad.

While the first two Tests - which will be held in Chennai from February 5 - will be a crossed door affair, the BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal said the Board is monitoring the situation and a decision on the return of spectators will be taken soon. "We are very keen to have the fans in the stadium. We are monitoring the situation and as and when we get clearances from the central and the state governments and we feel the situation is safe, we will have the fans back,” Dhumal told Sportstar on Saturday.

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As per the revised Standard Operating Procedure issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the stadiums have now been allowed to return to full capacity for outdoor events. Earlier, the stadiums were allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity. And keeping this mind, there is a possibility that the Board could allow at least 25 per cent of the crowd.

“We are working on the plan and we will announce (as and when) there is a final decision. We are hopeful and are keeping our fingers crossed,” Dhumal said.

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The Board has already started its domestic season - Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy - and plans to host the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the senior women’s tournament inside a bio-bubble. The operations team is working on the details and the Board is having regular conversations with the government about vaccinating the cricketers. “We want to get the players vaccinated, and we are in touch with the government. The government's directive now is that frontline workers will be the first to get vaccinated,” Dhumal said.

England’s tour of India also marks the return of international cricket in the country after the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

While there were no cricketing activities in the country, the Board had to host the Indian Premier League in the UAE last year. However, with things slowly returning to normal, the Board plans to host the IPL in India this time.