BCCI to allow IPL teams in UAE only after setting up a bio-secure bubble
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is unlikely to allow teams to travel before August 20 as it awaits permission from the government for hosting the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League in the UAE.
At the IPL governing council meeting on Sunday evening, the members were told that while the sports ministry has cleared the BCCI’s proposal, the necessary permission is still awaited from the home and the external affairs ministries.
“The BCCI hopes to get all the necessary documents for hosting the tournament overseas by this week and only after setting up a bio-secure bubble will the teams be allowed to go there. We are in talks with an UK firm which was in charge of setting up the bubble during the recently concluded Test series in England,” a source told The Telegraph.
This will upset the plans of several franchises like the Chennai Super Kings which was planning to set up base in the UAE by August 12.
It has also been confirmed that the tournament will run from September 19 to November 10. That the final could be held on November 10, instead of November 8, was first reported by The Telegraph on July 24.
This has been done keeping the interests of the broadcasters in mind who wanted to make use of the Diwali week.
“This will be the first time that the final will be held on a weekday. The 53-day window will allow the 60 matches to be held with enough spacing in between given the strict protocols that will be in place for the tournament,” the source said.
The timings of the matches have been brought forward by half an hour and will begin at 7.30 pm (IST). The fixtures will be released once the government clearance arrives.
“The tournament will witness 10 afternoon matches starting at 15:30 IST while the evening matches will start at 19:30 IST,” the BCCI said in a media release. “Matches will be played in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi subject to necessary clearances from the government of India.”
Another important decision was to allow the franchises to make Covid-19 replacements. There will be no cap on such replacements and can be sought at any time during the tournament. The franchises will be allowed to travel to the UAE with 24 players each.
“The governing council also discussed the Standard Operating Procedures, which will be finalised and published in due course,” said the media release. It will then be handed over to the franchises.
The aspect of crowd presence also came up during the meeting and it was decided that the matter would be decided in consultation with the Emirates Cricket Board.
“The BCCI is not against crowd presence during matches but given the circumstances, the safety of the players will be of utmost importance,” the source said.
The issue of Chinese sponsorship in the IPL, including title sponsors Vivo, also came up for discussion and it was decided to retain their association. The issue of Chinese investments has been under the scanner since the border tension and the government’s ban on several apps.
“They are with us. None of the members spoke for cancellation of any deal. There has been no government interference in this regard and the sponsors will continue to partner us,” said the source.
The governing council will meet the franchise representatives once the government permission comes through.
The BCCI has confirmed that the women’s IPL, also called the T20 Challenge, will be held as planned. “It is very much on,” president Sourav Ganguly said before the meeting. “We also have a plan in place for the national team.”
“Women’s T20 Challenge will take place in the UAE and will comprise three teams with four matches to be played during the IPL Playoff week,” the media release said.