Mumbai: Even before the 14th edition of IPL kicked off last month, the second wave of COVID-19 had set in. Many had questioned why the world’s richest and most-followed T20 league could not be shifted to the UAE – which had hosted last year’s delayed competition too – even at the eleventh hour.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) tried its luck, and rode it for three weeks before the bubble finally burst. With the number of COVID-positive cases among players and support staff growing across teams, BCCI was left with no option but to postpone it indefinitely on Tuesday.
Now, it is set to face legal hassles, the first of which came in the form of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in Bombay High Court. It seeks damages worth Rs 1,000 crore from BCCI for conducting IPL 2021 amidst the pandemic.
Advocate Vandana Shah’s plea, moved before the high court on Tuesday, has asked whether the IPL is an essential service, reported PTI. She also sought a direction to the BCCI to pay Rs 1,000 crore and make donations from its profit to hospitals treating COVID patients across the country.
“The BCCI should be held responsible for conducting a tournament in such sensitive times. The petition said even though the IPL players and staff are in the bio-bubble, the possibility of getting infected by coronavirus cannot be ruled out and in such a situation, the spread would be higher as players do not follow the social distancing norms,” Shah has stated.
“Is IPL an essential service? I am also seeking a direction to the BCCI to pay Rs 1,000 crore as damages and also make donations from their profit to hospitals treating COVID-19 patients,” Shah added.
A few hours after her plea in court, BCCI suspended IPL indefinitely.