In a statement Tuesday, tournament organizers said that “although we have tried to bring a little positivity and fun, it is imperative that the tournament be stopped and that everyone return to their families and loved ones in these difficult times.”
It is not clear when and where the cricket tournament will resume, which attracts the best cricket players in the world with big money contracts.
The number of coronavirus cases in India has already exceeded 20 million, as the country reported 357,229 cases on Tuesday, according to data released by the health ministry.
Before Tuesday, organizers moved on with the tournament, despite the withdrawal of several high-ranking players and calls for a postponement.
But with growing cases across the country and a lack of oxygen and necessary medicines in hospitals, game administrators have been forced to do more.
Organizers met with the Cricket Control Board 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 in the organization of the IPL. This decision was taken taking into account the safety, health and well-being of all stakeholders,” the statement said. .
“I’ve seen so many lives lost”
According to Forbes, the IPL is the sixth most valuable sports league in the world, after the NFL, the Champions League and the four largest national football competitions in Europe.
Stopping or canceling the tournament, some say, would lead to economic and social costs.
“There is a whole ecosystem that IPL maintains … providing a livelihood for several million Indians, if not more,” Indian cricket journalist Boria Majumdar told CNN Sport before the suspension was announced.
“We’re talking about a huge economic system here. With the suspension of the IPL, what are you doing?
The Indian Public Broadcasting Council found that viewership in the first week of last season’s IPL increased by 15%, with 269 million viewers participating in seven matches on 21 channels.
However, some fans were embarrassed that the tournament continued before news of the suspension came on Tuesday.
“It doesn’t make me feel good. I’ve seen a lot of lives lost,” Oswald Dsuza, 55, a passionate cricket fan from Bangalore, told CNN Sport last week.
“On the one hand, you have people who are losing their precious lives, and on the other hand, you’re talking about entertainment and commercial cricket.
“Yes, I also love IPL, but life matters at the end of the day. What’s the point of continuing with IPL when we have so many lives lost.”
With the confirmation of the postponement, many foreign players who are currently in India for the tournament may appear to be flying back home.
However, they could face weeks of quarantine with countries around the world restricting travel to and from India, as long as cases remain so high.
In Australia, anyone who was in India 14 days before Monday is now banned from entering the country, including Australian citizens, under the country’s Biosafety Act.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has denied that the ban on arrival is racist and has reduced the chances of imprisonment for those caught breaking the rules.
On Monday, about 9,000 Australians in India were registered with the government as wanting to return to Australia.