In the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak and the detection of four cases in the state, the Karnataka government has written to the Centre seeking advice on whether Indian Premier League (IPL) matches should be held in its capital Bengaluru.
IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is scheduled to play its first home match, at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, on March 31. RCB is set to play a total of seven home matches, extending till May 17.
Karnataka medical education minister K. Sudhakar said, "I have written to the Centre saying there are IPL matches scheduled to be held in Karnataka, and that Maharashtra has already taken a decision in this regard. We have asked for the Centre's guidance on what action we should take.”
“We will also take into consideration what decision the Maharashtra government takes in this regard,” said Jawaid Akhtar, Karnataka's additional chief secretary for health and family welfare and medication education.
The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), meanwhile, will adopt a wait and watch policy. ”We have not received any official information about this till now. If there is anything that comes from the state government to us, we will pass it on to the BCCI. The KSCA only hosts the matches; the BCCI will take a decision,” a senior KSCA official stated.
Meanwhile, according to a report in The Hindustan Times , in Mumbai, citizen group Marine Drive Residents Action Group (MDRAG) wrote to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mumbai Police on Saturday requesting cancellation of the league to prevent the spread of the virus.
MDRAG secretary Nikhil Banker said, “In today’s situation, we are scared of our health security because of such public gatherings. For health concerns, any public gathering should be restricted, and even IPL should not be allowed.”
“We [the BMC] are not prohibiting or restricting public or mass gatherings yet. We are asking people to take precautionary measures, and are screening those entering Mumbai from affected areas to ensure the epidemic does not spread,” additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani was quoted as saying by The Hindustan Times .
Earlier, on Friday, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly had asserted that all measures will be in place to tackle the rapidly spreading threat which has wreaked havoc on sporting calendars globally.
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He said, “IPL is very much on. Everywhere, the tournaments are going on. England are already in Sri Lanka. South Africa are here. There are no issues.
“County teams are travelling all over the world. They are travelling to Abu Dhabi, UAE to play. So there is no problem,” he added.
Asked about the precautionary measures to ensure that players and fans are not affected, Ganguly had said a medical team is thrashing out the specifics.
“We will take all precautions. I don’t know exactly what are the extra measures. It’s only medical team which will tell us about that,” he said.
“The medical team is already in touch with the hospitals so that everything is available. We will do what the doctors say. They are the professionals.
“All medical issues will be addressed by the medical team. Every tournament will go on,” he added.
(With inputs from Ashwin Achal and PTI)
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