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COVID-19 -- Sports minister Kiren Rijiju re-opens sports complexes minus fans

SPORTS MINISTER KIREN RIJIJU has given a go-ahead to the country's sports complexes to begin operations, as long as they comply with the COVID-19 related safety guidelines of Ministry of Home Affairs.

In a tweet, the minister said that use of practice and stadium facilities will be allowed for teams and athletes, but areas where risk of contamination is high (i.e. swimming pools, gyms) will remain closed as of now.

This announcement has backed up some sports federations who have been keen to get training camps underway; including boxing.

Conducting official matches, too, will be possible under these regulations; but spectators will not be allowed to attend.

The Indian Premier League, which got delayed from its original start date in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, is exploring the possibilities of going ahead without in-stadia fans; as has been done with sports across the world including football in Korea & Germany as well as Mixed Martial Arts in the USA.

As of now, BCCI is considering an October start for the cash-rich T20 league. In domestic football, Indian Super League may be kicking off in November, around the same time as I-League. 

The guidelines also potentially cover international events like a bilateral cricket series (provided safe air travel is made available), but the one-off international fixtures like the Indian football team's World Cup Qualifier matches are still not viable given the mandatory two-week quarantine regulation that's in place.

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