MUMBAI: The Maharashtra state cabinet met on Wednesday and a call was made to ban the sale of tickets for the matches of IPL’s 13th edition at the Wankhede Stadium in order to prevent crowd gathering.
“The move is more of a precaution to stop the virus from spreading,” government sources said.
This means that the Mumbai Indians-Chennai Super Kings opener will be played to empty stands at the Wankhede Stadium on March 29. The government is likely to take a further call on banning sale of IPL tickets in Mumbai depending on the threat from the virus.
Mumbai Indians, who play hosts to IPL’s inaugural game this season, will not be starting the sale of tickets until the 18th or 20th this month. “Not because of today’s cabinet meeting. MI were anyway going to start the sale of tickets somewhere a week before IPL begins. So, between now and 20th, there’s enough time for all parties concerned to take a conscious call on the matter,” say sources tracking developments.
Going forward, a further update on the matter will only be available when the state government discusses the threat once again in the coming week. Mumbai Indians, for the record, haven’t officially heard from the state government as yet.
“Whatever the loss in terms of the gate money will only have to be borne by the franchise. But in these times of the virus showing no respite, nobody’s thinking about it. The safety of fans is most important, even if it means watching it from the comfort of homes and not at the stadium,” said sources.
BCCI’s Plan-B: IPL deferment
MUMBAI: Shaken by the revised travel advisories issued by the Centre on Wednesday evening, the Indian cricket board will start working on Plan B from Thursday – deferment of Indian Premier League (IPL) from March 29 to mid-April – for now.
Sources told TOI that the likelihood of IPL beginning on the scheduled date is getting lesser by the day. “A deferment is to be worked upon. If situation worsens, the tournament may not happen at all.”
The BCCI may have to consider multiple options. “Changing of the format is possible – if we’re looking at a shorter window. Maybe less home and away games by dividing the teams into two pools. Matches can be brought down by 25 to 30%. Wait for March to get over,” say sources in the know.