India’s sports minister Kiren Rijiju on Sunday said any decision to allow the Indian Premier League (IPL) to go ahead this year would be taken by the government.
Rijiju said the Indian cricket board (BCCI) would not be given the pleasure of taking that decision, which would be based on how well the country has contained the novel coronavirus.
The minister said the IPL would go ahead only if there was no risk to public health.
“In India the government has to take a call and it will be depending on the situation of the pandemic, how we progress as a nation,” Rijiju said.
“We can’t put health of the nation at risk just because we want sports events to be held. Our focus is fighting COVID-19.”
The BCCI, the richest cricket body in the world, had said it would consider staging the lucrative IPL in October/November if the T20 World Cup did not go ahead.
The T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in Australia during those months.
The IPL is worth almost 530 million dollars to the BCCI and attracts the best international and Indian cricketers.
It was scheduled to start at the end of March but was indefinitely postponed because of the pandemic.
India has reported 131,868 infections from the new coronavirus, with 3,867 deaths.