The Indian Super League (ISL) final set to be held in Goa on Saturday will be a 'behind closed doors' affair, following a government directive.
The final, set to be contested between Chennaiyin FC and ATK at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, will most likely see no fans in attendance due to preventive measures being enforced to prevent a mass outbreak of Covid-19, a disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has been wreaking havoc all over the world.
This follows a directive from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to the Indian Olympic Association (IOC), Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and all other recognised sports bodies including the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
The directive asks the sports bodies to adhere to the advice to not conduct any sporting event with public gathering. "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," reads the letter.
However, it continues to state, "In the event, the sporting event cannot be avoided, the same could be done without allowing the gathering of people, including spectators."
The AIFF will most likely have to adhere to the instruction from the central government and ensure the ISL final is held without any fans present.
India has also suspended all existing visas issued to foreign nationals till April 15, 2020, which means overseas players cannot enter India anymore. Thankfully, the overseas players set to take part in the ISL final is not likely to be affected since they are already in India.
As per official records, India has seen 73 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and the preventive measures are likely to be enforced strictly to ensure there is no mass outbreak.
The Covid-19 illness originated in China before spreading all over the world, affecting almost 100 countries. The most affected nations apart from China are Italy, Iran and South Korea.
The illness has already impacted sporting events across the globe. Italy has suspended the Serie A while several UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches were held behind closed doors this week.
England's Premier League has also announced that all football games will be held behind closed doors.