Thursday Feb 04, 2021
In what will bring music to cricket fans' ears, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has decided to allow the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to admit crowds of up to 20% of the total capacity during round-robin stage matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021.
"The decision means around 7,500 ticketed spectators will be allowed access inside the National Stadium per match day, while around 5,500 will be able to attend each match day at the Gaddafi Stadium," the PCB said in a press release.
The development, however, pertains only to round-robin stage. A decision on play-offs and the final will be made later in the tournament, once a review has taken place.
The Board said that it was able to convince the NCOC after promising a strict enforcement of Covid-19 SOPs at the stadiums.
"The NCOC made the decision following a detailed and comprehensive briefing by the PCB officials, in which they assured that the event organisers and the PCB will strictly follow government Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures, including social distancing," the press release added.
PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani thanked the NCOC and expressed his delight at being able to welcome the fans back at stadiums.
“I am thankful to the NCOC for trusting the PCB and allowing limited fans to watch live action of the HBL Pakistan Super League 2021," he stated. "This is an endorsement that the PCB is an institution capable of planning and then successfully implementing Covid-19 SOPs during its marquee event being staged in Pakistan for the second successive year.
“Fans are the PCB’s biggest asset and we are delighted that no matter a small number, but some will be able to have access to the matches. Their presence will add flavour and excitement to one of the biggest and most challenging leagues in the cricket calendar. We understand not everyone will get an opportunity to watch the matches due to the limited number of seats, but these are baby-steps and considering that most of the sport events are being played in empty stadium, this is a positive achievement and step in the right direction.
“I am optimistic that if we can maintain strict protocols during the HBL PSL 2021 matches we will have a strong case for more fans in the 2021-22 season in which we have to host high-profile internationals teams such as New Zealand, England and the West Indies as well as quality domestic events, including the National T20 Cup, Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and the Pakistan Cup.”
More to follow