The Indian Premier League Governing Council and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday decided to call off the T20 cricket tournament as some players have contracted the highly contagious coronavirus infection.
BCCI said in an official statement that it was “unanimously decided” at an emergency meeting “to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect.”
The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and well-being of all the stakeholders in mind, the statement said.
In a major setback for the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament, two players tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.
"Varun Chakaravarthy and Sandeep Warrier were found to be positive in the third round of testing in the last four days," the league said in a statement, "All other team members have tested negative for COVID-19."
Spinner Chakaravarthy had left the bio-bubble for a shoulder scan after which the positive cases were reported.
A match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders was postponed hours before its scheduled start in Ahmedabad after two Kolkata players tested positive.
Three non-playing members of the Chennai Super Kings were also reported to have tested positive on Sunday, but Chennai officials have not made any statement on the issue.
“The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021,” the statement added.
The IPL is the richest cricket tournament in the world, attracting the best players from Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, England and South Africa. South Africa's Chris Morris is the most expensive player in the IPL this season and is being paid over $2 million by the Rajasthan Royals.
Some of these players have been asking for chartered flights to get them out of India.
BCCI has been criticised on social media for staging the tournament amid the Covid crisis. The hashtag #CancelIPL trended on Twitter in India after news of the players testing positive for Covid-19 broke.
“These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times,“ the BCCI statement said.