MUMBAI: In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and one day after the temporary suspension of the Indian Premier League (IPL), all franchise owners of the T20 league converged at a meeting called by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) here on Saturday.
The owners reflected upon the threat that COVID-19 poses within India and globally and unanimously agreed that the BCCI had “done the right thing” by suspending the league until April 15, for now.
Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, also the co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, led the way once discussions began. “Wonderful to meet everyone after so long,” he said, adding that “safety of spectators, player managements and public paces” should be considered before anything else.
He thanked the BCCI for allowing this communication process to fall in place and bringing everybody on board to chalk out the way forward.
N Srinivasan, former president of the BCCI and managing director at India Cements, joined the meeting via a video conference. Khan and Srinivasan proposed — seconded by the rest — that all owners and other franchise representatives should check in seven days’ time if another meeting is possible.
“Until then, let’s continue to monitor the situation and refer to the rules and regulations extended by Central government. Based on how things move from here, another meeting will be required to discuss possible scenarios,” Delhi Capitals’ co-owner Parth Jindal said.
Mumbai Indians were represented by team owner Akash Ambani and a senior executive at Reliance Industries, Nikhil Meswani. Scheduled to play hosts to the first game of the IPL this year, the MI owners too maintained that “public safety was most important for now”.
In the near future, should the virus show any signs of subsiding or being brought under control, the unanimous view once again was that “a full-fledged edition should remain the consideration and intent on part of all stakeholders”.
The meeting, incidentally, restarted an exercise that had been discontinued following the Supreme Court’s sanctioning of the game’s administration.