After a long gap of more than 20 months, cricket fans in Sri Lanka will be allowed to witness live action at the stadium as the government has granted permission to allow 50 percent spectators from Day 4 of the ongoing Test against the West Indies, as well as the Lanka Premier League (LPL), scheduled to begin on December 5.
Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa wrote in a Twitter that the Health Ministry has granted permission to allow 50 per cent spectators.
“Cricket is nothing without the fans! As an avid cricket fan myself, I am happy & grateful to announce that the @MoH_SriLanka has granted approval for limited crowds to attend the #LPL2021 after considering the strict guidelines put in place by the @MoYS_SriLanka,” tweeted Rajapaksa, the son of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“This approval includes permission for limited crowds at the ongoing Test series as well,” the minister added.
However, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said that only the fully vaccinated persons can attend the games.
“However, only those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be permitted entry,” SLC said. The board also said that the spectators should carry proof of vaccination (either the card or in digital form) done at least 14 days prior to entering the ground.
Significantly with the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, all public gatherings in Sri Lanka were banned since March 2020.
Although international cricket resumed in the island nation but were held under strict bio-bubbles and fans were not allowed to enter the stadiums.
After the completion of the ongoing first Test between hosts Sri Lanka and Windies, the two sides will face for the second and final time in the series from December 29 in Galle.
After the Test series, the second edition of the LPL will commence on December 5 at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium (RPICS), Colombo and the inaugural game of the season will be played between Galle and Jaffna.
The first round of the tournament, which will consist of 20 games will be played at the RPICS before it moves into Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium (MRICS), Hambantota to proceed with the final round games.
The finals of the League will be played on the December 23 at the MRICS, Hambantota, whilst this year’s tournament has December 24, as a ‘Reserve Day’ dedicated for the finals.
The LPL 2021, which is Sri Lanka’s topmost domestic tournament, with an international flavor, will consist of 24 games and will see the participation of topmost domestic and international cricketers.
The Final Round Games will see the top two teams in the points table playing the qualifier 1, whilst the 3rd and 4th placed teams on the table playing in the ‘eliminator.’
The winner of ‘qualifier 1’ will directly go into the finals, whilst the loser of the ‘qualifier 1’ will play against the winner of the ‘eliminator’ in the ‘qualifier 2’, and the winner of that game will go into the finals.
Earlier, the second edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL), which was supposed to kick-off on July 29, was postponed due to the unavailability of foreign players.