The Harvard School of Public Health has said that the USA would have to ensure social distancing until 2022 to overcome the coronavirus. This has, however, not dampened the spirit of the IPL team owners, who like the rest of the world are keen on defeating the pandemic. Hence, they don’t mind conducting the tournament behind closed doors.
Like the BCCI, none of the principal owners are speculating about whether it is going to happen or not. Since social distancing is the norm right now, the sporting extravaganza has been postponed indefinitely and the BCCI is keeping its fingers crossed as it hopes to conduct the event in autumn months. The franchises won't mind foregoing the gate money from the league matches – which will amount to Rs 3 to 6 crore per game for seven home matches.
"The biggest challenge is to conduct the IPL this season. However, the current situation is quite grim and it doesn't look so simple. If at all the event is conducted, the people may not be allowed to watch the games live. But as more than 90 percent of the IPL audience in on TV and the internet, it won't be a big issue other than losing the gate receipts. It is still so much better than cancelling the IPL this season," a team official told Sportskeeda on Thursday.
However, a few teams aren't as hopeful. Though the broadcaster has no problem in the event being held without fans inside the stadium, getting overseas cricketers into the country will not be a smooth affair.
"How can IPL happen without the foreign cricketers?" a team official asked. It means that not only India but the rest of the world too will have to overcome COVID-19 for any sports event to be held.
IPL still a possibility in autumn window
Almost all the teams have already taken advances from their sponsors and may have to return the money if the tournament doesn’t happen. "No one will say anything till the IPL is officially cancelled. Even the BCCI has taken advance money from the broadcaster, which means that there is still hope of hosting IPL in autumn months," a source said while adding that the richest T20 event could also be the first sports event after the world has defeated coronavirus completely.
But social distancing will continue to be the new world order and games could be held behind closed doors.