With exactly three weeks to go before the start of the Lanka Premier League (LPL), organisers are like deer caught in the headlights: There is no Government clearance yet to host the tournament.
SLC has sent a list of 140 names including foreign players, production crew and other stakeholders, for visa clearance. However, the Sunday Times can confirm there has been no approval yet. The five-team event is scheduled to start on November 21 in Hambantota where the first leg of matches is expected to be played. The second leg will be in Pallekele.
Strict health guidelines also previously postponed the tournament, originally fixed for August. The sudden spike in infections countrywide – with positive cases surpassing 10,000 by Friday – has strengthened reservations of the health authorities against holding sports events, even if it means playing under stringent rules. But this is not how it’s done in other parts of the world.
Visitors to Sri Lanka must undergo a 14-day strict quarantine in complete isolation in a hotel room. Health authorities had, however, earlier agreed to allow cricketers to resume training after the eighth day of arrival.
“We are in the dark,” said a Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) official. “The production crew should be here by November 3 to complete quarantine. That leaves them just three days to organise everything. The players should be here by November 7 in order to play. We are really frustrated by how health authorities have responded to this.”