Indian fans could return to stadiums in the new year

With the latest Standard Operating Procedure allowing 50 per cent fans for outdoor events, organisers are likely to take a call based on the prevailing ground situation.

By Naveen Peter ·

The new year might see spectators return to various sporting events in India after the sports ministry released an elaborate Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for events to be held in the country in 2021.

As per new policy, organisers could allow 50 per cent attendance in venues provided it meets the necessary guidelines laid down by the SOP

The guidelines also call for a COVID-19 task force to be instituted by the event’s organising committee which will oversee the implementation of the SOP and monitor all athletes and support personnel.

Though the ministry has given a go-ahead for hosting sporting events in the country, the latest policy stated that the final call will rest with the local authorities of the area where the venue is located. 

Besides following the already laid down guidelines to counter COVID-19 like regular hand sanitisation, wearing of face masks, physical distancing and installation of Aarogya Setu App, the stakeholders will also have to undergo thermal screening while entering the venue.

“Depending on the risk perception and the scale of events, the organising committee may consider making RT-PCR testing of athletes and support personnel carried out within 72 hours prior to the event. Only those having negative RT-PCR report shall be allowed to participate in the event,” the circular from the sports ministry stated. 

While the Indian Super League (ISL) is set to continue into the new year, 2021 will also see the I-League, India Open Super 500 badminton event and various domestic competitions being held in India.

Though the events are expected to be held behind closed doors, the organisers might consider opening the venues up to the fans.