March 14, 2020 / 12:16 PM / 23 days ago

India suspends domestic soccer and cricket over coronavirus outbreak

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India suspended domestic soccer until the end of this month while domestic cricket was put on hold indefinitely due to the coronavirus on Saturday.

The All India Football Federation said in a statement that, following Ministry of Health and state government-level advice, “all footballing activities under the aegis of AIFF stay suspended till March 31”.

“The AIFF will take a stock of the situation in the last week of March, and take a decision abiding by directives from relevant authorities at that juncture,” it added.

All I-League matches have also been suspended but the final of the franchise-based Indian Super League was due to go ahead without spectators in Goa later on Saturday.

The outbreak has already cost India its only European Tour golf event, a shooting World Cup and a BWF Super 500 badminton tournament.

India’s ongoing home ODI series against South Africa has been called off by the cricket board which has also postponed the start of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 until April 15.

In a statement on Saturday, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) suspended all domestic matches as well “till further notice.”

Some 145,594 people have been infected by the coronavirus across the world and 5,419 have died, according to a Reuters tally of government announcements. Efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic have widely disrupted the global sports calendar.

BCCI representatives also met IPL franchise owners in Mumbai where safety and well-being of the fans and players were identified as the priority.

“As much as we all want IPL to happen the health and safety of the public, players, staff and all others is of paramount importance,” Delhi Capitals co-owner Parth Jindal tweeted after the meeting.

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Tony Lawrence

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