ISL final likely to be held behind closed doors
- This follows a directive from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to all recognised sports bodies in the country, including the AIFF.
The final of ISL 2019-20 between ATK and Chennaiyin FC at Fatorda, Goa, is likely to be held behind closed doors, as India steps up its measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the Novel Coronavirus which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
This follows a directive from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to all recognised sports bodies in the country, including the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
"All international events in India have been cancelled," Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Kiren Rijiju told reporters outside Parliament. "But we are telling sports federations, we are telling all to comply with the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry and formulated by a group of ministers which is constituted by the Prime Minister. So any sports body in India should ensure [the guidelines are followed]."
The directive asks the sports bodies to avoid conducting any event with a large public gathering. However, it states that in case the event cannot be cancelled, it should be held without the presence of fans.
The AIFF is likely to heed the orders and guidelines made by the Union Government, which means that it is only a matter of time before an official announcement is made, preventing fans from entering the stadium.
Currently, India has 73 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and with the disease showing no signs of slowing down, the government is justified in pulling out all the stops to try and prevent a mass outbreak.Published 12 Mar 2020, 16:41 IST