ISL final to be held behind closed doors due to coronavirus

Kolkata: Players in action during an Indian Super League (ISL) match between Chennaiyin FC and ATK at Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, on Feb 16, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

Fatorda, March 12 (IANS) The Indian Super League 2019-20 final on Saturday between ATK and Chennaiyin FC, will now be played behind closed doors at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.

Football Sports Development Limited, owing to the current preventive measures against COVID-19, has decided to hold the season’s final behind closed doors, a statement from the organisers said.

An advisory from the Sports Ministry on Thursday asked all national federations to ensure any sporting event in India must be conducted without spectators amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“To deal with the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19), the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has issued advisories and advised the State Governments to take appropriate action under the Epidemic Diseases Act,1897.

“You are advised to adhere to the advisories issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and ensure that no public gathering takes place in any sporting event. In the event, the sporting event cannot be avoided, the same could be done without allowing gathering of people, including spectators,” the Sports Ministry said in a letter to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and all national sports federations including the BCCI.

The central government had on Wednesday suspended all visas, barring a few categories like diplomatic and employment, in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus as cases across the country rose to over 70.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also declared COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) a “pandemic”.

ATK reached the final for the third time by knocking defending champions Bengaluru FC out in a thrilling two-legged semifinal tie while Chennaiyin continued their dream comeback after being bottom of the league in December as they edged past league toppers FC Goa 6-5 on aggregate.

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