The Home Ministry’s nod to the re-opening of sports stadiums notwithstanding, the BCCI is not thinking about organising the Indian Premier League at the moment. According to BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal, no plan could be in place with regards to holding this year’s IPL as long as there are restrictions on international and domestic travel.
“The IPL at the moment is not possible because travel restrictions are still there. So, how can you have the IPL without any travel happening? We are studying these guidelines and will study state governments’ guidelines also. Accordingly, we will plan,” Dhumal told The Indian Express.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued guidelines mentioned that sports stadiums would be allowed to open without spectators. “Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open; however, spectators will not be allowed,” the MHA advisory stated.
Dhumal agreed that this order has paved the way for cricketers to resume outdoor training individually. “At a local level, cricketers can go to stadiums and resume outdoor training. But the entire team cannot get together because players are scattered.,” Dhumal said.
It is learnt that any meaningful discussion about the IPL will start only in August. But finding a window remains an issue. According to a BCCI functionary, although a section of cricket administrators and IPL stakeholders seems to have taken the postponement of the T20 World Cup in Australia, scheduled in October-November, for granted, it might not be an open-and-shut case.
“The T20 World Cup is an ICC event. It will generate revenue for the global body, and the ICC will do its level best to organise the tournament as per schedule,” he said.
Athletes can train
After being confined indoors for close to 54 days, the new Home Ministry guidelines are a glimmer of hope for the elite athletes at the country’s premier sports institutes as they can now resume training. However, those who are outside SAI campuses may have to wait till June at least as they might have to undergo a quarantine period before being allowed to train at centres.
The athletes have been urging the government to allow them to train, and those inside the campuses even complained of homesickness. A Sports Authority of India (SAI) official did not commit as to when athletes will be able to resume training but it is learnt that those who are already inside their campuses – the hockey teams are in Bengaluru while some in track and field and weightlifting are in Patiala – will get the green signal this week.
Sports minister Kiren Rijiju held online meetings with athletes from these three sports last week and had said there would be a phase-wise resumption of training, and priority will be given to those who are already at the SAI centres. These athletes will have to follow strict protocols and social distancing guidelines, which have been set by SAI as well as their respective federation.
IOA asks for bailout package of approx Rs 220 crore
The Indian Olympic Association, on Sunday, requested one-time financial assistance amounting to approximately Rs 220 crore for the national sports federations, citing that they will find it difficult to attract private sponsorship because of the gloomy economic outlook post-Covid.
IOA president Narinder Batra wrote to sports minister Kiren Rijiju, saying that ‘hand-holding’ by the government was the only way to deal with the current cash crunch. Batra appealed to the government that the IOA get an assistance of Rs 10 crore, federations governing Olympic sports receive Rs 5 crore each while non-Olympic sports get Rs 2.5 crore each and Rs 1 crore each for the state Olympic associations.