BH CORRESPONDENT, Kolkata: The remaining two one-day matches between India and South Africa are likely to be played in empty stadiums in Lucknow and Kolkata due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The matches are scheduled to be held on March 15 in Lucknow and on March 18 in Kolkata.
The sports ministry has issued an advisory that in case it’s unavoidable to postpone a sporting event, then it is preferable that it be conducted without a large public gathering.
“The BCCI is in receipt of the sports ministry’s advisory. Obviously, if we are advised to avoid large gatherings, we will have to abide by it,” a BCCI source said.
On the other hand, the final of ISL 2019-20 between Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) and Chennaiyin FC at Fatorda, Goa, is also likely to be held behind closed doors for the same reason.
Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports issued a directive to all recognised sports bodies in the country, including the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
“All international events in India have been cancelled. So we are telling sports federations, we are telling all to comply with the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry and formulated by a group of ministers which is constituted by the Prime Minister. So any sports body in India should ensure the guidelines are followed,” Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Kiren Rijiju said.
Currently, India has 73 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and with the disease showing no signs of slowing down, the government is justified in pulling out all the stops to try and prevent a mass outbreak.