The remaining T20 International matches between India and England will be played without an audience at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, said Gujarat Cricket Association in a statement. The statement also read that the Association will refund the money to all the fans who purchased the tickets. This step has been taken following the spike in COVID-19 cases in the state.
“The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in consultation with the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) has decided to conduct the final three T20Is against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium behind closed doors. The decision was arrived at following detailed discussions with the state and local health authorities,” the BCCI said in an official release.
“The BCCI will continue to comply with all the regulations put in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus and will always put the health and safety of its fans and stakeholders at the top.”
The five-match series is being played at the refurbished Narendra Modi Stadium which witnessed crowds of 67,200 and 66,352 respectively in the first two games. Although the stadium holds a capacity close to 130,000, GCA allowed only 50 per ent of the seats to be filled owing to coronavirus restrictions.
“Due to rise in number of Corona cases, we at GCA have decided in consultation with BCCI, the matches will be played (behind) closed doors and not allow the spectators in the ground during T20 internationals to be played between India and England at Ahmedabad,” GCA vice-president Dhanraj Nathwani said in a press release.
“We will form the policy for refund of money to the spectators, who have already purchased the tickets for these three T20s. Those who have received complimentary tickets are requested not to visit the stadium.”
With crowds swarming the stadium, social distancing was seen taking a hit at the Narendra Modi Stadium, during the first and second T20s in Gujarat. Many fans were also seen without masks in the stadium which invited severe criticism against the decision to allow fans.
It is important to note that the BCCI has barred crowds for the IPL as well, which is also set to be played in Ahmedabad. Moreover, the ODI series between India and England will also miss fans in the stadium amid the surge in COVID-19 cases in Pune and across Maharashtra.