IPL franchises ready to quarantine foreign stars after new health advisory

With travel restrictions in place following the coronavirus outbreak, IPL franchises have agreed to quarantine foreign players when they arrive in India.

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly arrives for the meeting in Mumbai.   -  Vivek Bendre

The new directive by the ministry of health has put the Indian Premier League (IPL) in further jeopardy. As per the advisory, compulsory quarantine has been extended to a minimum period of 14 days for passengers coming from or transiting through UAE, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait.

It also had restricted travel from the countries of the European Union, Turkey and United Kingdom with effect from Wednesday.

With the ministry’s new guidelines, the IPL franchises are trying to figure out how to handle the situation. “As of now, the league is suspended till April 15, but with newer guidelines, we need to see how can we fit in the 14-day quarantine for overseas players?,” one of the franchise owners told Sportstar.

Asked whether they are ready to quarantine their foreign players for a 14-day period, the franchise owner said: “If it’s an advisory, we will have to follow it. But how do we go about it, is something we need to check.”

Some of the executives of the franchises had an ‘informal’ conference call on Monday, where all those aspects were discussed. One of the franchise bosses from South India admitted that with cases of COVID-19 increasing by the day, apprehensions are growing.

“Look at the way things are shooting up! The priority is to ensure safety and hygiene for all. But we are anyway running against time, so once we have a clarity on the visa approval process, we will be able to assess the situation better,” he said.

On Tuesday, the health ministry has said that travel from Afghanistan, Philippines, Malaysia is also prohibited with immediate effect. However, these restrictions will be effective until March 31 and will be reviewed in the due course of time.

“The foreign players will require at least five days before they get ready for the tournament. The mandatory quarantine shouldn’t be an issue, but for that we need to first know whether the players will be allowed to get visas after March 31,” one of the franchise executives said.

“We are all waiting for the government’s directive on the travel restrictions for the overseas players. That’s a prime concern now,” the executive said.

On Saturday, BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly had stated that the Board will monitor the situation every week and then think about the future course of action.

The franchises, on their part, are in regular contact with each other and are likely to have a conference call later this week or early next week.

“We hope to get a bit more clarity by then,” one of the franchise bosses said.

Asked if calling off the tournament was on the cards, he averred: “Too early to think in those lines perhaps.”

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