Sports complexes and stadia were permitted to open without spectators by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the fourth phase of the coronavirus-forced lockdown, announced on Sunday.

“Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open, however, spectators won’t be allowed,” read one of the guidelines to be followed during the lockdown, which was due to end on Monday but has been extended till May 31.

This could potentially clear the path for a resumption of the training of athletes, which came to a halt in mid-March. It could also offer some for hope for the Indian Premier League, which has been indefinitely suspended due to the pandemic.

However, despite the relaxation announced on Sunday, the IPL is unlikely to go ahead even behind closed doors anytime soon as travel restrictions – both domestic and international – continue to remain in place.

India has recorded over 90,000 Covid-19 cases so far with nearly 3000 deaths.

Sport continues to be listed among the functions, gatherings and large congregations which are not allowed as of now.

The first lockdown came into effect in mid-March and elite athletes, many who are based at Sports Authority of India complexes in Patiala and Bengaluru, have been asking for a resumption of training.

Last week, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju held a series of video conferences to take the athletes’ view on the matter. On May 3, he had declared that the ministry was aiming for a phased resumption of national camps by the end of this month for at least the Olympic-bound athletes.

With PTI Inputs