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LAHORE: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has approved 25 percent crowd attendance for the HBL-Pakistan Super League-2022 Karachi-leg matches, which will be played at the National Stadium from 27th January to 7th February.

The decision means around 8,000 spectators will be allowed inside the venue each match day. However, to ensure their health and safety as well as others attending the matches, the spectators’ entry will be subject to strict Covid-19 protocols including full vaccination with valid vaccination certificate for visitors above 12 years. Wearing of masks inside the venue is also mandatory.

PCB Chief Operating Officer and HBL-PSL Tournament Director Salman Naseer said, “Spectators are the essence of any sport event and in this background, we now hope to set the stage with 25 per cent crowds to attend the Karachi matches of the HBL PSL 2022. As a responsible organisation, we completely understand our obligations in relation to health and safety of the fans and will leave no stone unturned in strictly implementing the NCOC guidelines.”

However, we will also require complete and unconditional support from the spectators so that they and others can continue to enjoy the matches in a safe and secure environment. This is something they can do by simply following the guidelines, Naseer said.

The NCOC will make a decision closer to time for the Lahore-leg matches scheduled in the Gaddafi, which will be played from February 10-27, a PCB spokesman, said.

Moreover, ICC’s Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle will make his HBL Pakistan Super League debut when he will referee in the seventh edition of the PCB’s marquee event, which will be held in Karachi from January 27 to February 7 and then from February 10 to 27 in Lahore.

Madugalle has been a regular visitor to Pakistan for international assignments, with his last visit being in January 2020 for the three T20Is against Bangladesh. He will be involved in nine of the 30 preliminary round matches and his presence is expected to help and assist Pakistan’s emerging umpires and match referees. He will be joined by his former team-mate Roshan Mahanama, who has previously refereed in the HBL PSL. Mahanama will also referee in nine matches, including the 27th January tournament opener between Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans. Aleem Dar and Richard Illingworth will be the on-field umpires, while Ahsan Raza will be the third umpire and Imran Jawed as fourth umpire.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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