In a statement issued on Tuesday, tournament organizers said that “while we have tried to bring some positivity and joy, it is imperative that the tournament is now put on hold and that everyone returns to their families and families. loved ones in these difficult times “.
It’s unclear when and where the cricket tournament, which attracts the world’s best cricketers with big contracts, will resume.
The number of coronavirus cases in India has now crossed 20 million, as the country reported 357,229 cases on Tuesday, according to figures released by the Ministry of Health.
Before Tuesday, organizers had continued with the tournament, despite the withdrawal of several top players and calls for a postponement.
But with cases soaring across the country and hospitals running out of oxygen and essential drugs, game administrators were under pressure to do more.
Organizers met with the Cricket Control Council of India (BCCI) for an emergency meeting this week and unanimously decided to suspend the tournament.
“BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of players, support staff and other participants involved in the organization of the IPL. This decision was made with safety, health and safety in mind. the well-being of all stakeholders, ”the statement read.
“ I saw a lot of lost lives ”
According to Forbes, the IPL is the sixth most valuable sports league in the world, behind the NFL, the Champions League and the four biggest domestic football competitions in Europe.
According to some, suspending or canceling the tournament would have an economic and social cost.
“There is a whole ecosystem that the IPL supports … providing livelihoods for a few million Indians, if not more,” Indian cricket reporter Boria Majumdar told CNN Sport, ahead of the announcement of the suspension.
“We are talking about a huge economic system here. By shutting down the IPL, what are you doing? You are plunging the nation into more gloom, talking about more debt and more pandemic.”
The Indian Broadcast Audience Research Council found that the number of viewers during last season’s IPL opening week increased by 15%, with 269 million viewers watching seven matches. on 21 channels.
Nonetheless, some fans felt uncomfortable that the tournament would continue ahead of the suspension announcement on Tuesday.
“I don’t feel good. I have seen a lot of lives lost,” said Oswald Dsouza, 55, cricketer from Bangalore last week.
“On the one hand you have people losing their precious lives and on the other you talk about entertainment and commercial cricket.
“Yes, I love IPL too, but life matters in the end. What’s the point of continuing with IPL when we have so many lives lost.”
With the postponement now confirmed, many foreign players currently in India for the tournament may seek to return home.
However, they could face weeks of quarantine, with countries around the world restricting travel to and from India as cases remain so high.
In Australia, anyone who was in India 14 days before Monday is now barred from entering the country, including Australian citizens, under the country’s biosecurity law.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has denied the ban on arrivals is racist and downplayed the risk of jail time for those who broke the rules.
As of Monday, around 9,000 Australians in India have been registered with the government as wishing to return to Australia.
The England and Wales Cricket Council (ECB) told CNN Sport it is in close contact with its players and staff in India as arrangements are made for their return.
“The ECB understands the BCCI’s decision to postpone the competition for the safety and well-being of those involved, and thanks the BCCI for its commitment to do everything in its power to ensure the safe and secure passage of all contest participants, “read a statement from the ECB.
“Our thoughts are with the Indian people in these difficult times.”