Cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL) has been suspended after a number of players fell victim to the country’s rising Covid-19 cases.
Fixtures scheduled for Monday and Wednesday had already been called off as a result of players testing positive for the virus.
Organisers said they had “unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect” following an emergency meeting.
“The BCCI [Indian cricket board] does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL,” they added.
“This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and wellbeing of all the stakeholders in mind.”
It comes after India recorded its highly daily death toll since the pandemic began at the weekend. The country has had more than 200m cases and over 220,000 deaths.
Organisers had defied calls to stop the lucrative Twenty20 competition, even after some players begn fleeing India to return home last week.
“These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer,” organisers added.
“However, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times.
“The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021.
“The BCCI would like to thank all the healthcare workers, state associations, players, support staff, franchises, sponsors, partners and all the service providers who have tried their best to organise IPL 2021 even in these extremely difficult times.”
No date has been set for the IPL to resume.