In a major update, the BCCI and the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association [TNCA] has decided to allow 50 percent of spectators for the second Test between India and England at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Earlier the TNCA had refused to allow the spectators to attend the two Tests at the Chepauk citing Covid concerns. However, the issue was discussed at length between the TNCA officials and the BCCI following the new set of guidelines issued by the Union Home Ministry, which includes the allowance of 50 percent spectators at a sporting event.
According to a report published in the Press Trust of India [PTI], the move was cleared in a meeting between TNCA and the BCCI officials.
The first Test is set to take place between February 05-09 while the second will held between February 13-17.
“We discussed the issue of allowing spectators for the second India vs England Test following fresh COVID-19 guidelines by the Central government permitting crowds at sporting venues and also the state government’s SOPs given on Sunday,” the TNCA official told PTI.
“It has been decided by the BCCI and TNCA to allow 50 per cent spectators for the second Test by following all safety protocols.” the official added.
The official also stated that media persons will be allowed to cover the Test matches from the venue. However, the press-conferences will be held virtually.
When asked about why the first Test will not see any spectators given the latest guidelines, the TNCA officials cited the lack of time for the arrangements to be made for spectator entry.
“There is little time to make arrangements for spectators entry for the first Test so the crowd cannot be allowed. Though the gap between the two Tests is only three days, we are confident that arrangements can be made for (50 per cent) fans in second Test keeping the safety norms in mind,” the official added.
Meanwhile, the third and fourth Test of the series, which is set to take place at the newly refurbished Sardar Patel Stadium. will be played amid 50 percent spectators capacity. While the 3rd Test, which also happens to be a day-night affair, will be played between February 24-28, the fourth and final match will take place from March 04.