Coronavirus: Pakistan Super League matches to be played behind closed doors

Karachi is set to host five Pakistan Super League matches starting Thursday evening at the national stadium, which can hold up to 30,000 spectators.

Quetta Gladiators celebrates the title win in March, 2019.   -  AP

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday decided to hold the remaining matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) behind closed doors after the spread of novel coronavirus pandemic in Karachi and other parts of Pakistan.

The majority number of positive COVID 19 cases have been recorded in Karachi and the Sindh province with the total rising to 24 as on Thursday.

The PCB announced that from Friday matches at the NSK will be held without spectators inside the stadium and all tickets purchased would be refunded.

“Following developments in the past 24 hours, the PCB has decided to take a pro-active approach and put in place precautionary measures to better safeguard the health and safety of all those who will be involved in upcoming matches,” PCB CEO, Wasim Khan said.

“All matches at the NSK will now be held in front empty stadium,” he said.

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The PCB had decided to go ahead with the five PSL matches in Karachi after getting advice from the Sindh government and Thursday’s match saw a large turn out at the National Stadium.

The PCB also advised all team members to avoid handshakes and fans have been urged not to approach players for autographs and selfies. The teams have also been requested to limit public appearances.

Khan said the decision was taken on advise of the Sindh government.

“This decision has been taken to protect the health and safety of the spectators, players, officials and media.”

“The decision will not impact accredited commercial partners, media and other service providers, who will be allowed to enter the National Stadium,” he said.

He said in addition, immediate families of competing players and player support personnel as well as franchise owners will be allowed to attend the matches.

“Health and safety is paramount and takes precedence over cricket. The PCB takes the health and safety of its players, spectators, officials, media, service providers and security personnel very seriously,” Khan said.

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