Coronavirus: Our advice would be not to hold IPL now, says Foreign Ministry

The directive from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on Wednesday had put in doubt the participation of foreign players.

The coronavirus outbreak has put the IPL in doubt. (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)   -  VIVEK BENDRE

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday, said it is upto the IPL governing council to decide whether it wants to hold the T20 league this year. "I think it is for the organisers to decide whether to go ahead with it or not. Our advice would be to not do it at this time but if they want to go ahead, it is their decision," said the Minister of External Affairs.

However, the directive from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on Wednesday puts in doubt the participation of foreign players. The Ministry had tweeted that “all existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International Organizations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13th March 2020 at the port of departure.”

According to “Details of Visas Granted by India” manual on the  Ministry of Home Affairs, Clause 40 (xv) specifies: “Foreign nationals who are engaged in commercial sports events in India on contract (including coaches) like Indian Premier League, Indian Soccer League, etc. with remuneration. They may be granted ‘B-Sports’ Visa with multiple entry facility for 13 appropriate period. Such a foreign national shall comply with all the statutory obligations like payment of taxes, etc.”

Since B-Sports - or even Business Visa is not specified in the list of exceptions by the health ministry on Wednesday, it is highly unlikely that any overseas cricketer can join his IPL franchise at least before April 15.

 

Meanwhile, Kiren Rijiju, the Union Sports Minister, tweeted that "there's no restrictions on playing but guidelines to be followed strictly in the larger interest of health." Later, speaking to Mirror Now, Rijiju added that it is important for the sporting bodies -- including the BCCI and IOA -- to follow the guidelines issued by the health ministry.

"We are advising to the sporting bodies who are organising tournaments to ensure that the guidelines issued by the health ministry are maintained. They should ensure that mass gathering is avoided," the minister said.

The BCCI scheduled to hold a meeting on Saturday, it is expected that the fate of the IPL will only be decided then.

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