Coronavirus affect IPL, ISL, I-League: Indian leagues go behind closed doors
The Indian Super League final, the Kolkata derby and the Eden Garden ODI will now be played behind closed doors as governments and sporting bodies look for ways to prevent coronavirus from spreading.
With the deadly coronavirus spreading fast across the country, Indian sports bodies have started taking drastic steps to prevent it from getting out of hand. The All India Football Federation (AIFF), the country's football body, has declared that the final of the Indian Super League (ISL) between ATK and Chennaiyin FC will be played without the audience filling the Fatorda stadium in Goa.
A statement from Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), which owns the ISL, said that "owing to the current preventive measures against COVID-19, it has decided to hold the season’s final behind closed doors". The management also guaranteed that it would soon initiate the process of ticket refunds.
Unfortunately it is not just the ISL that will be played behind closed doors. The much-awaited Kolkata derby in the I-League between newly-crowned champions Mohun Bagan and arch-rivals East Bengal will also be played behind closed doors as the West Bengal government step up their attempt to curb COVID-19.
The people of Kolkata will not just miss out on their football. If reports are true, the third ODI of the India South Africa series will also be played without audience at the famous Eden Gardens in the city. The series was already under a lot of scrutiny with many questioning the need for continuing with the series at a time when all the attention should go curbing the COVID-19 from getting out of control.
There are also multiple reports of the Indian Premier League (IPL) going to be played behind closed doors. Even though BCCI president had earlier denied there would be changes for the cash-rich IPL, the unavailability of the foreign players and the pressure from state government to postpone the event have forced the cricket's governing body into reconsidering their options. A meeting on March 14 will decide the fate of the IPL but if reports are to believed then the T20 tournament is also likely to be held behind closed doors.