Covid-19 aftermath: IPL 2020 all set to move out of India
The Apex Council of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was apprised of the challenges of holding IPL in India in the time of rising novel coronavirus cases.
Covid-19 could push the Indian Premier League (IPL) out of India and to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) again after 2014.
The Apex Council of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was apprised of the challenges of holding IPL in India in the time of rising novel coronavirus cases. “The Apex Council did not take any final decision. But from the discussions it appears very difficult with the rising (novel) coronavirus cases in the country. There are many factors to be considered like creating a bio secure bubble of international standards, flying international cricketers in India, finding facilities for training,” said a BCCI source, privy to what happened in Friday’s virtual meeting.
Covid -19 has been controlled much better in UAE. So far, there have been 56,422 cases with 337 deaths and 48,448 recoveries. India has over 1 million cases and more than 25000 deaths. Also, three venues in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah will make it a lot easier to stage the 60-match competition. “Since Dubai is a frequent port of transit for international travel, flying in international cricketers will be a lot easier in Dubai, as opposed to India,” said the source.
However, all this is contingent on the T20 World Cup scheduled in October and November being postponed by the International Cricket Council. ICC is scheduled to meet on Monday. The council was also told the union government’s permission will be needed. “Both proposals, of staging the IPL at four venues in Mumbai-Pune as well as taking it to UAE will be put forth. A final decision will be taken based on government’s advice. If the ICC calls off the T20 World Cup, the IPL Governing Council will meet and take a call,” said the source.
Some top officials of the eight franchises too have spoken among themselves last week and do not have a problem if the competition is moved to UAE.
UAE too is keen. Speaking to Gulf News, Salman Hanif, Head of Cricket & Events of Dubai Sports City (which includes the Dubai International Stadium & the ICC Academy) said they were ready to host and provide practice facilities. “The stadium has nine wickets on the top in case a large number of matches have to be accommodated within a smaller time-frame. We will not be scheduling any matches there to keep the wickets fresh,” said Hanif.
“The practice facilities are never going to be a problem as we have hosted multi-team events before. In the ICC complex alone, there are 38 wickets --- spread over the two Oval grounds, the simulated turf wickets as well as the state-of-the-art indoor facilities in case they want to beat the heat.” Although UAE has also spoken of exploring the possibility of staging the IPL with limited spectators, BCCI is only looking at a closed-door competition for now. There were also discussions on holding a training camp in India in August for BCCI’s contracted cricketers in a bio secure bubble. Dharamshala and the new ground in Motera, Ahmedabad, have been shortlisted.
At the meeting, the issue of office-bearers’ tenure also came up. As per the new BCCI constitution, secretary Jay Shah has reportedly completed his term and president Sourav Ganguly will be ineligible to continue in office after this month. It was learnt that Ganguly addressed the issue in the meeting where the opinion of two senior legal experts was shared. BCCI has also filed a petition in Supreme Court to alter the constitution. That petition is yet to be heard.