IPL 2020: BCCI postpones tournament ‘until further notice’ after extension of nationwide lockdown

The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been postponed ‘until further notice’ on Thursday. The league was scheduled to begin on 29 March but was postponed till 15 April in wake of the COVID-19 outbreak that has halted all sporting activities all around the world.

“The health and safety of the nation and everyone involved in our great sport remains our top priority and as such, the BCCI along with the Franchise Owners, Broadcaster, Sponsors and all the Stakeholders acknowledge that the IPL 2020 season will only commence when it is safe and appropriate to do so,” said BCCI secretary Jay Shah in a statement.

“BCCI will continue to monitor and review the situation regarding a potential start date in close partnership with all of its stakeholders and will continue to take guidance from the Government of India, State Governments and other State Regulatory bodies,” statement went on to add.

Indian government had announced a lockdown from 24 March to 14 April, citing the COVID-19 threat, eventually leading to postponement of the league to 15 April. With Indian government extending the lockdown till 3 May, as cases are on the rise in the country, the postponement was on the cards.

Two days ago, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had hinted about the further postponement of the league. He had told The New Indian Express, “…Airports are shut, people are stuck at home, offices are locked down, nobody can go anywhere. And it seems this is how it’s going to be till the middle of May. Where will you get players from, where do players travel.”

The decision to postpone the tournament indefinitely will strike a blow to the stakeholders – players, franchises, league, advertisers and broadcasters. At the auction in December, 62 players were traded by the eight franchises for a collective fee of Rs 140.30 crore. But none of the players will receive their salaries with the tournament not being played.

The franchises would incur a massive financial burden especially with no TV revenue coming in. Star India had paid a record Rs. 16,347.50 crore for five years of broadcast of the IPL in 2017. Every franchise was then assured a minimum Rs 150 crore per seson from that kitty.