The latest directive from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on Wednesday has put the participation of foreign players in IPL 2020 in doubt. The Ministry 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, it is highly unlikely that any overseas cricketer can join his IPL franchise at least before April 15. While IPL officials remained unavailable for a comment, officials from a couple of franchisees said it is “too early” to comment on the impact of the advisory. “We will have to consult our legal teams to ascertain the nature of players’ visas,” said the CEO of a franchise.
Besides, the Health Ministry’s directive of “all incoming travellers, including Indians, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain & Germany after 15th Feb, 2020 shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days” is likely to have a severe impact on overseas cricketers’ participation in IPL.
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