No vaccine for IPL-bound players
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has made it clear that it is not possible to organise vaccination of the players and those who will be involved in the 14th edition of the IPL, which begins next month.
Listing out the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in a document titled ‘Health and Safety Protocols’ to the franchises, which is in possession of The Telegraph, it said: “The vaccination program against Covid-19 is underway in India and vaccines are currently being administered to the at-risk population viz. front-line workers, health care professionals, people over the age of 60 years and those between the age of 45-59 years who have co-morbidities like cardiac ailments, diabetes, cancer, etc.
“Until most of the population is vaccinated and immune to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, precautions will need to be taken to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the community.”
The BCCI has also permitted bubble-to-bubble transfers. “Players coming directly from the bubble created for the India vs England series, may be permitted to join the franchise squad without serving the mandatory quarantine period, provided they satisfy the following criteria: After conclusion of the India vs England series, the players are moved directly to the franchise team hotel either in the team bus or on a chartered flight,” the SOP stated.
“If chartered flights are used, then all protocols for crew members mentioned... must be followed. If the travel arrangements are to the satisfaction of the BCCI Chief Medical Officer, then such players will directly enter the franchise team bubble…”
Twelve bubbles will be created — eight for franchise teams and support staff, two for match officials and match management teams and two for broadcast commentators and its crew.
The BCCI will appoint “up to four security staff with each franchise team who will be the designated bubble integrity managers”. “They will be part of the respective team bubbles and travel with the teams for the entire duration of IPL 2021. Their job will be to report any bio-secure environment protocol breaches...”
The BCCI has informed teams that chance of transmission of virus through cricket balls is low. “New scientific study of cricket balls as potential vectors of the novel coronavirus showed the risk of transmission to be very low. If the cricket ball goes in the stands… the 4th umpire will provide a replacement from the library of cricket balls.”
The SOP has also listed the precautions to be taken in case any spectator enters the field and comes in contact with a player. It involves change of clothes, washing hands and sanitising cricketing equipment.