NEW DELHI: Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has made it clear that under present circumstances, the country should be ready for sporting events to be held behind closed doors and hence the very first thing that one thinks of is the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League because the BCCI is eyeing the September 25 to November 1 window for the same. Therefore, the board has made it very clear that fan safety is the foremost priority as rightly pointed out by the sports minister.
A BCCI official said that it had been obvious that the safety of the fans would be a priority whenever live sporting action returns within the country and cricket are going to be no different. He went on to mention that gate money wouldn't be the primary focus at this point in time and revenue generated from broadcasting the games should work fine.
"In these extraordinary times, gate money is the least of anyone's worry Fan safety obviously takes priority. When cricket happens, the broadcast revenue is the first chunk of revenue necessary for the BCCI and therefore the state associations' subsistence. Same is the case for the IPL.
"Nobody goes to say no to gate revenue, but nobody in their right minds goes to offer gate money preference over fan safety. Those that have organised matches, understand this basic tenet. Moreover, the Sports Minister has given a press release and he represents the govt. with reference to the sporting ecosystem within the country and one must take note of the same and understand the gravity of things," the official said.
Rijiju on his part has made it clear that while sporting events will resume slowly as athletes have already been given the permission to start out individual training, a call on the IPL would be taken by the govt. with an eye on the coronavirus pandemic. He also made it clear that sportspersons should be able to play behind closed doors.
"In India, the govt has got to take a call and it'll take a call depending on the circumstances. We cannot put health in danger simply because we would like to have a sporting event. Our focus is fighting COVID-19 and at the same time, we'll need to work a mechanism to get back to normalcy. it's difficult to verify dates but I'm sure we'll have some kind of sporting events this year," he said.
"We are advising that health and safety are top priorities and besides that, we've to keep in mind guidelines issued by the Home Ministry and also the guidelines issued by the local authorities. we've been aiming to resume the events but before that, we'd like to resume the practice and training. We cannot resume tournaments immediately."