With the Covid-19 pandemic in Mumbai worsening by the day, the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) has made it mandatory for all the officials who would be attending IPL 2021 matches at the Wankhede Stadium to produce a negative report of the RT-PCR test conducted within 48 hours of the match day. Last Saturday, 10 members of the ground staff at the Wankhede Stadium had tested positive, but most of them recovered later. Two more members of the ground staff and a plumber at the stadium tested positive for coronavirus later.
Following the BCCI’s directive, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) last week asked its apex council members to produce a Covid-19-negative report at the entrance of the Wankhede Stadium to be eligible to watch IPL 2021 matches at the iconic stadium. The first IPL game at the Wankhede will be held on Saturday between Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals. The venue will stage 10 matches of IPL 2021 in the period 10-25 April.
There are 17 members, including five office-bearers in the MCA’s apex council. “Dear Apex Council members, as per the BCCI’s protocol, all the officials who would be attending IPL- 2021 matches at the Wankhede Stadium are required to produce a negative report of the RT-PCR test conducted within 48 hours of the matchday,” wrote MCA secretary Sanjay Naik in an email (a copy is with TOI) on 8 April.
“The tests are mandatory even for those who have been vaccinated. The report will have to be produced at the time of entry to the stadium on each match day. Hence you are requested to get yourself tested at your end and carry the negative report to the stadium on match day,” Naik wrote.
“Later in the evening of 8 April, the apex council members were informed that BCCI is conducting RT-PCR tests at Wankhede Stadium from 11 AM to 1 PM. Members who would be willing to avail of this facility are requested to confirm their availability through a return email,” said a source in the MCA.
However, the glitch here is how the apex council members will travel to watch the matches on the weekends when there is a lockdown. The first match at the Wankhede Stadium is on Saturday, between the Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals.
The office bearers and staff members have received letters of permission to travel. “The office-bearers and staff members have received letters of permission to travel, but the apex council members have no such permission,” the source said.