Indian Premier League Suspends Cricket Matches

India on Tuesday passed the milestone of 20 million total reported coronavirus cases, with many more undetected, according to experts, amid growing calls for a national lockdown.

With those reported numbers, India became the second country after the United States to cross 20 million infections. Although aid has begun to pour in from other countries, hospitals are still unable to help many of those who are critically ill, and families have been left to hunt for much-needed oxygen.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been sharply criticized by many for underplaying the virus earlier this year, and on Tuesday the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi said a national lockdown was desperately needed, calling it “the only option.”

Mr. Gandhi accused the authorities of helping the virus spread. “A crime has been committed against India,” he wrote on Twitter.

intense criticism for going ahead with their matches in cities that have been among the worst hit.

Made up of eight teams, the Indian Premier League is the biggest cricket league in the world.

Since the league’s season started last month, some of the biggest cricket stars have traveled across the country in so-called bubbles and played in empty stadiums. But even the stringent safety protocols couldn’t stop team members from being infected. At least five people on three teams have tested positive. The competition was scheduled to finish at the end of the month.

“These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, 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 league said in a statement.

India reported over 368,000 new cases and 3,417 deaths on Monday. It has reported more than 222,000 Covid-19 deaths, although actual figures are most likely much higher.

With aid being shipped from countries like the United States and Britain, among others, there was hope among weary residents that the situation could start easing.

The Times of India. Italy has also donated an oxygen generation plant and 20 ventilators.

View Source

Cricket in India Carries On, Diverting Resources From Coronavirus Fight

As plumes of smoke rose from cremation grounds, where bodies were arriving faster than they could be burned, teams of professional cricket players squared off under the lights of a cavernous stadium named for India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi.

The jarring scenes unfolded on Thursday in Ahmedabad, the capital of Mr. Modi’s home state of Gujarat and a hot spot in India’s spiraling coronavirus outbreak, which is claiming an average of nearly 3,000 lives a day nationwide.

For decades, cricket and its charismatic stars have commanded exalted status in India, where the once-genteel colonial game attracts its biggest and most passionate fan base. Now, public anger is growing at the sport’s marquee international product, the Indian Premier League, which is playing matches in a “bio-bubble” without spectators that has drawn criticism for diverting resources from the country’s wider coronavirus fight.

“There is a lack of empathy for dead bodies lying in crematoriums surrounding your stadium,” said Rahul Verma, a lawyer and die-hard cricket fan who said he had been a devoted follower of the cricket league since it started in 2008. “This game, a gentleman’s game, never was so grotesque.”

oxygen, medicine and other scarce supplies. Many Indians say they do not know if they are infected with the coronavirus because overwhelmed labs have stopped processing tests.

But one group that seems unaffected is the wealthy and powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India, the regulatory body that oversees the Indian Premier League, which was modeled on soccer’s Premier League in England and features players from around the world.

The board has kept ambulances fitted with mobile intensive-care beds on standby outside stadiums where matches are being played in case a player falls sick. It is testing players every two days and has created a travel bubble between stadiums in the six states hosting matches, including dedicated airport check-in counters for cricketers.

said in a letter released this week that the health and safety of players and staff members were “of paramount importance,” and added that the matches, which conclude on May 30, were a needed distraction in a difficult time.

“When you all walk out onto the field, you are bringing hope to millions of people who have tuned in,” he wrote.

But the league’s safety protocols have only highlighted the gap between its star players — who have said little publicly in the face of criticism — and the rest of the country.

“That ambulance outside that stadium could have saved at least ten lives a day,” said Ishan Singh, a cricket fan in Delhi. “These players are thieves. Given a chance, they will rob wood from the cremations and sell it in the market.”

The New Indian Express, a daily newspaper, said in an editorial this week that it would suspend coverage of the cricket league until “a semblance of normalcy is restored” in the country.

“This is commercialism gone crass,” the newspaper wrote. “The problem is not with the game but its timing.”

View Source

English Soccer Announces Social Media Boycott to Protest Online Abuse

English soccer officials said Saturday that they would conduct a social media blackout next weekend to protest “the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football.”

The boycott has the support of a coalition of groups, including the Premier League, the richest and most high profile soccer league in the world, but also England’s soccer federation; the top two professional tiers of men’s and women’s soccer; referees; the country’s players union, and others.

The action is the most direct effort yet by a sport to pressure social media companies like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to take action against online abuse, and comes after a season in which players, clubs, team executives, referees, female commentators and others have been the targets of abuse.

The social media boycott also follows a week of fury and street protests against top clubs and their owners who tried — and failed — to create a breakaway European Super League that would have walled them off from many of the structures, including the pay system, that have sustained soccer for a century. At each of the protests, there were vitriolic demands for the owners of teams to sell.

a picture on Twitter with the caption “Working with a smile!”

The tweet was met with racist abuse from a Twitter user who told Nketiah, who is Black, to leave the club. Twitter responded by permanently suspending the user’s account, Sky Sports reported.

Leeds team Twitter account, which invited a slew of hateful messages toward Carney.

who called for the tweet to be deleted.

Bethany England, a forward for Chelsea, called out Leeds’ social media team for “atrocious behaviour.”

“Cyber bullying a female pundit and opening her up to mass online abuse for DOING HER JOB AND HAVING HER OPINION!” England said.

wrote an open letter to Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, and Mark Zuckerberg, the C.E.O. of Facebook, calling for the leaders to put an end to “the levels of vicious, offensive abuse” coming from users on their platforms.

“The reality is your platforms remain havens for abuse,” the soccer executives wrote. “Your inaction has created the belief in the minds of the anonymous perpetrators that they are beyond reach.”

In the past, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have taken steps, such as banning users temporarily or permanently, but the issues of online abuse have persisted.

the encouragement of the league’s team captains and with the support of league officials.

But some players and even entire teams, frustrated with a lack of concrete progress on racial issues and feeling the gesture has become more performative than productive, have recently stopped taking part.

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha said he had come to see the kneeling as “degrading,” and said he would stop doing it and would focus his efforts elsewhere. Brentford, a team in England’s second-tier Championship, in February stopped taking a knee before games. While the players said in a statement that they still supported antiracism efforts, they said, “We believe we can use our time and energies to promote racial equality in other ways.”

The social-media blackout will take place while an entire slate of games in multiple leagues will be played, including one between Manchester United and Liverpool, the Premier League’s defending champion.

Edleen John, director of international relations for the Football Association, said English soccer will not stop pressing for change after next weekend.

“It’s simply unacceptable that people across English football and society more broadly continue to be subjected to discriminatory abuse online on a daily basis, with no real-world consequences for perpetrators,” John said. “Social media companies need to be held accountable if they continue to fall short of their moral and social responsibilities to address this endemic problem.”

View Source