IPL going ahead as a for-TV-only event looks increasingly likely

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CHENNAI: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Madras High Court on Tuesday, seeking a cancellation of the Indian Premier League's 13th edition due to the coronavirus outbreak in India. The cash-rich T20 tournament is scheduled to be held between March 29 and May 24.

With the announcement that the YONEX-SUNRISE India Open 2020 Super 500 badminton tournament will be held as per schedule in New Delhi, but behind closed doors without spectators, and similar moves by the major football leagues in Europe, it looks increasingly likely that the 2020 edition of world cricket's biggest annual event will perforce have to be a television only proposition if it is to go ahead as planned.

The rapid spread of Coronavirus worldwide has started seeing its impact in India as well. With over 50 cases in the country, many sporting events have either been canceled or postponed.

The PIL, filed by advocate G Alex Benziger, will reportedly come up before a division bench comprising Justices MM Sundresh and Krishnan Ramaswamy on March 12.

This comes just two days after the Maharashtra Health Minister confirmed that discussions are on in the government on whether to postpone the IPL due to the growing number of cases in India, The Hindu reports.

"As on date, as per the website of the World Health Organisation, there was no specific medicine or to prevent or to treat the COVID-19," the petitioner said.

According to the petitioner, the coronavirus was spreading all over the world rapidly and creating a huge epidemic disaster. The petitioner said he had sent a representation to authorities not to allow the BCCI conduct IPL T20 cricket matches. As there was no response, he filed the present plea.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar has written a letter to the Centre seeking advice on what needs to be done about the IPL matches that will be played in Bengaluru.

"I have written to the Centre saying there are IPL matches scheduled to be held in Karnataka, and that Maharashtra has already taken a decision in this regard. We have asked for the Centre’s guidance on what action we should take," Sudhakar said.

Majority of the IPL matches will be played in 7 of the affected states in India over the course of two months, starting with the opener between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede stadium on March 29.