The Board of Control for Cricket in India continues to look the dreaded COVID-19 virus in the eye. Even as Maharashtra accounts for more than half of the 100,000 positive cases recorded on Sunday, BCCI still wants IPL 2021 matches to go ahead at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium. (More Cricket News)
The first match in Mumbai is scheduled on April 10 between former champions Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals. IPL 2021 opens in Chennai on April 9 with a match between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
As per well-placed sources, 14 members of the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai, a five-star facility, have allegedly tested positive for coronavirus. All 14 are part of the bubble that contains the personnel that will produce the live 'world' feed of the IPL.
Four Seasons Mumbai is housing the main production staff of the IPL. These include cameramen, producers, directors, EVS operators (people who provide slow and ultra-motion replays and instant graphics) and video editors.
The hotel in Mumbai hosting the persons involved with the world feed has been hit by COVID-19. Photo - BCCI
The world feed is the main feed of a tournament. It goes across the world and partners associated with host broadcasters, STAR Sports.
STAR Sports is producing IPL 2021 on behalf of BCCI. They are also the host broadcasters. If any production personnel tests positive, it could impact the rest of the crew in the bubble, which is being managed by BCCI.
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STAR Sports is managing a separate bio-bubble at the JW Marriot. That hotel houses another set of crew consisting manly of persons involved with vernacular and customised feeds. They have nothing to do with the world feed, directly.
STAR Sports CEO Sanjog Gupta said, “We have put together the strictest safety measures for the bio-secure bubbles and are confident that working with BCCI, we will be able to deliver an IPL that is safe for everyone involved,” when asked if there was any cause for concern. BCCI's acting CEO Hemang Amin did not reply to Outlook's query.
Meanwhile, IPL 2021 matches will go ahead as planned, according to Maharashtra cabinet minister Nawab Malik on Monday. Between April 10-25, the Wankhede Stadium will host 10 matches and no fans will be allowed.
On Sunday, Mumbai registered a record single-day rise of 11,206 cases. With less than a week remaining for the IPL to start, COVID has left several stakeholders in an uncomfortable position, but the BCCI seems unmoved.
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