The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) seems to be cracking the whip on the Covid offenders in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The breach of protocols by players and team officials during IPL 2022 will attract serious sanctions, ranging from one-match suspension to seven-day requarantine, to ostracisation from the tournament. Bubble breach by a family member of a player or match official will have even more serious sanctions.
More stringently, if a team wilfully allows an outsider into the team bubble, it could face punishment up to Rs 1 crore for the first lapse and subsequent lapses could lead to deduction of one or two points from the team’s tally.
“The COVID-19 pandemic poses a serious threat to the health of individuals and the cooperation, commitment and adherence by each Person Subject To These Operational Rules to the measure put in place to provide a safe environment is of paramount importance,” the BCCI said in its operational rules for the IPL 2022.
In the Table A of punishments, it has stated that the sanctions for the bubble breaches by a player, team official or a match official will be:
First offence – 7 day re-quarantine or such other period as may be provided in the Health & Safety Protocols during IPL 2022 (without pay for the number of matches missed)
Second offence – One match suspension (without pay) to take effect after the completion of the 7 day requarantine or such period requarantine as may be provided in the Health & Safety Protocols during IPL 2022 (without pay)
Third offence – Removal from the Registered Squad for the rest of the season – no replacement allowed.
For a family member:
First offence –7-day requarantine for the family member or such other period re-quarantine as may be provided in the Health & Safety Protocols during IPL 2022 and 7-day requarantine for the relevant Player, Team Official or Match Official or such other period requarantine as may be provided in the Health & Safety Protocols during IPL 2022 (without pay for the number of matches missed)
Second offence –Permanent removal of the friend or family member from the bubble for the rest of the season and 7-day requarantine for the concerned Player, Team Official or Match Official or such other period requarantine as may be provided in the Health & Safety Protocols during IPL 2022 (without pay for the number of matches missed).
Others sanctions are:
Breach: If a franchise is unable to field a team for any match due to having less than 12 Players available – 11 in the playing XI (of which at least 7 must be Indian) plus 1 substitute fielder
Sanction:BCCI, at its discretion, will attempt to reschedule the match for later in the season. If this is not possible, the issue will be referred to the IPL Technical Committee. The decision of the IPL Technical Committee will be final and binding.
Breach: Wilfully allowing any person into the Bio-Secure Bubble to have contact with the Players &/or Support Staff without that person going through the 7-day quarantine or such period as provided in the Health & Safety Protocols during IPL 2022 and negative test protocols as provided in the Health and Safety Protocols during IPL 2022 or failing to put in place adequate procedures to control unauthorised access to the Bio-Secure Bubble.
Sanctions: First offence – a fine payable by the Franchisee to BCCI of INR 1,00,00,000 (Rupees One Crore Only) Second offence – deduction of 1 point Third and subsequent offences – each a deduction of 2 points.
Breach: Unauthorised departure from the Bio-Secure Bubble of a Player, or a family member of the same, resulting in a need for the Player to re-quarantine for 7 days or such period as provided in the Health & Safety Protocols during IPL 2022.
Sanctions: A fine payable by the Franchisee to BCCI of the pro-rata League Fee that would have been paid to the Player if he had been available for the match(es) during the re-quarantine period.
Breach: Other breaches of the Health and Safety Protocols during IPL 2022 (e.g. non-provision of the “must have” facilities in the hotels, training facilities & ground transportation).
Sanctions: BCCI will work with the franchisee to effect compliance. If there are further persistent breaches, the BCCI will make a Complaint to be heard under section 6 of these Operational Rules.
There also sanctions prescribed for those missing the Covid tests. The first offence will attract a warning and subsequent offences will lead to a fine of Rs 75,000 per offence. The offenders in this category will also not be eligible for entry into a stadium or training facility until the missed test is performed.
The Health & Safety Protocols section of the Operational Rules ends with a couple of advisory notes: “Franchises and other entities responsible for the individual Bio-Secure Bubbles may impose their own code of conduct to deal with breaches by members of their bubble for protocols such as hand washing /anitization and respiratory etiquettes. Persons Subject To These Operational Rules should also be aware of the applicable laws in India regarding the wearing of masks and social distancing and the imposition of fines, if any.”