Sports stadiums and complexes to open under Lockdown 4.0 guidelines, but without fans

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Indian government has extended the nationwide lockdown till May 31
  • Sports stadiums, complexes will be allowed to open without fans in new lockdown rules
  • All tournaments and events related to sports are currently on hold due to Covid-19

The Indian government on Sunday extended the nationwide lockdown till May 31 but issued new guidelines and rules with more relaxations in its order.

Sports stadiums will be allowed to open across the country to host matches but without fans even as the Indian government ordered an extension of the nationwide lockdown till May 31 on Sunday.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) laid out new guidelines and rules for Lockdown 4.0, in which it was mentioned that stadium will be permitted to open without any spectators.

“Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open; however, spectators will not be allowed,” the MHA press release stated.

The new rules will be a big relief for athletes from all sports in the country. All tournaments and events related to sports have either been cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The fresh guidelines issued by the MHA also means that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) can now start thinking about hosting the Indian Premier League which was postponed indefinitely in after the lockdown was extended.

The cash-rich 8-team tournament was supposed to be held between March 29 and May 4 but it was postponed just before the first lockdown started in India from March 25. The BCCI then decided to push it back for an indefinite period after the lockdown got extended twice in the last two months.

Other tournaments such as badminton, football, tennis, etc are also on hold as of now but the new rules will give more hope to sports fans across the country.ADVERTISEMENT

Meanwhile, The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Sunday requested the Sports Ministry to sanction one-time financial assistance of over Rs 200 crore for various sports governing bodies in the country, saying sponsors won’t come forward until next year making “hand-holding by government” a necessity.

Citing the halt on sports activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IOA President Narinder Batra, in a letter to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, said if help is not granted, it would be difficult to restart operations smoothly once the lockdown to contain the virus is lifted.

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