Not just IPL 2020, domestic matches will also take place without spectators

Suromitro Basu

2019 IPL Final - Mumbai v Chennai

The decision of India's central government to open up stadia and allow training and sports activities - albeit without spectators - has come as a big relief to the administrators. Most pertinently, it has given a boost to the chances of the Indian Premier League (IPL) being conducted later this year.

But BCCI sources told Sportskeeda on Monday that not just the IPL, even domestic cricket matches would have to be played without spectators when cricket resumes at home. The board is reportedly prepared for the loss of revenue from ticket receipts, and is looking at the game as a TV and digital event for the next couple of years.

“Since physical distancing is going to be the norm, all matches from here on would be played without spectators as a precautionary measures,” a BCCI source said, while explaining the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Apart from IPL 2020, BCCI to focus on bilateral series

Endorsing the suggestion of Indian coach Ravi Shastri to host more and more bilateral series rather than world events with more than 10 teams, BCCI is set to chalk out a fresh schedule for the senior team after consulting the government agencies.

The board is also awaiting the fate of the T20 World Cup, which is scheduled to be held from October 18 to November 15 in Australia. The event could be postponed for a year or so, according to sources.

“With IPL being the top priority without compromising the health of the cricketers and other stake-holders, the board is also prioritising the public health and safety. Therefore, it is important to look beyond IPL for cricket matches without spectators,” the source said.

Each affiliated unit of the BCCI could lose up to Rs. 6 crore for hosting an international game without spectators. But that's a price the board is willing to pay, as per reports.

It is understood that the India-Australia series Down Under will follow the same principle, and look to make revenue only through media rights. Incidentally, BCCI had prepared for a series against South Africa last March without spectators before the lockdown was announced by the Union government.

Earlier, Sportskeeda had reported how the IPL could be the only tournament in the world to operate without spectators. However, BCCI isn’t rushing into cricket right away. Things like organizing camps for contracted players are still to be accounted for, and while these are usually done in the respective states, the board will only plan the way ahead after it gets a green signal from the government.