Rijiju: Must plan to make sports interesting without fans

Sports minister Kiren Rijiju says plans must be made to ensure sports remain sustainable without fans attending events at the stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju says the ministry will help those sports that don’t get significant television coverage.   -  PTI

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said that planning will have to be done to ensure that sports remain sustainable without fans in the stadium in the near future. The coronavirus pandemic has put a freeze on the global sporting calendar with even the Tokyo Olympics being postponed to next year.

The ministry had banned spectators in stadiums for any events, including cricket matches, in one of its earliest advisories on the pandemic before all sporting events were brought to a halt altogether.

“Not only sports, life has changed, we can’t live like before and we have to make sure to follow the new norms and sports also will come up in a new way,” said Rijiju on eagenda Aaj Tak.

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“We will have to plan to make sports more interesting without fans. Stadiums in future will not be filled with fans.”

Rijiju said that the ministry will be looking to help those sports that don’t get significant television coverage.

“IPL (Indian Premier League) is rich and gets revenue from television but there are others which need help. We will help those sports and federations. We have big aims and want India to be in the top ten nations’ list in terms of winning medals.”

Rijiju had earlier said that the ministry is planning a phase-wise reopening of training camps for the athletes. “First of all we will identify those players and teams who have qualified for the Olympics. Second, those who are going to play the Olympic qualification competitions, we will allow these athletes to practice,” he said.

“We won’t be able to open camps for those who are not in qualification reckoning soon. Maybe that will go beyond August or September.”