COVID-19: ‘Human life is more important than cricket’

Sourav Ganguly,IPL 2020,Indian Premier League,BCCI,Sports Business News India

The Board of Control for Cricket in India president Ness Wadia and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) co-owner Ness Wadia have defended the decision to postpone the Indian Premier League.

“No human life is worth sacrificing for Indian Premier League which should not take place if the situation doesn’t improve in two-three weeks,” Ness Wadia said following the BCCI’s decision to suspend the T20 tournament till April 15 in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Also Read: COVID-19: BCCI defers start of IPL till 15 April

Wadia, who spoke to the BCCI officials including president Sourav Ganguly on Friday, said the situation has to improve for the IPL to take place.

“There can be no compromise for even one human life. If we cancel the IPL and end up saving one life, it will be worth it. That is my personal opinion. It is better to be safe than sorry,” Wadia said.

“First priority is safety,” was the first reaction from Ganguly.  “Let’s stick to the postponement (at the moment). First priority is safety, so we postponed the games,” Ganguly said in Mumbai.

“We will see what happens. It is too early to answer,” said Ganguly when asked if there will be more double headers if they are able to host it from April 15.

Asked whether the IPL franchises are happy, Ganguly said, “Nobody has a choice.”

A senior BCCI official said that only the start date has been pushed while the window remains the same with regard to the IPL.

The decision to suspend IPL came hours after Delhi government suspended all sporting activity in the national capital due to the ever-growing health crisis. Delhi is home to the Delhi Capitals IPL franchise.

The Sports Ministry had on Thursday issued an advisory asking national federations to follow the Health Ministry’s guidelines and avoid large gatherings in sports events.

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India has recorded more than 80 positive cases so far with the global infected count standing at over 1,30,000.

The death toll because of the virus has gone beyond 5,000 internationally.

Meanwhile, the IPL governing council will meet in Mumbai today (Saturday) to decide the next course of action. Besides the possibility of cancelling the event, conducting the IPL without spectators is also an option after April 15.

“The first benchmark is April 15. If the situation improves after two-three weeks, it could be reconsidered, if not then IPL should definitely not happen,” said Wadia.

Wadia, along with the rest of the franchise owners, will be meeting the IPL officials on Saturday before the governing council meets.

The two remaining India-South Africa ODIs in Lucknow and Kolkata were also called off on Friday owing to the COVID-19 threat. Sporting events all around the world too continued to go haywire because of the global pandemic.

Also Read: Coronavirus threat: IPL behind closed doors! But, what about fan parks?