The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has sent out a strong message on its determination to organise the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
While BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, in a letter, reminded state associations about the Board’s willingness to stage the IPL, tournament chairman Brijesh Patel said they were going ahead keeping in mind the September-October window.
The assertion follows the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s decision on Wednesday to wait “until next month” to decide on the fate of the T20 World Cup in Australia, scheduled in October-November.
Any delay beyond July in taking a decision would leave the BCCI with little time to organise the IPL if the Australia event is cancelled.
“I don’t think it will come to that. The ICC will not delay any further and take a decision at the earliest. The IPL can happen without crowds but it makes no sense to have a World Cup without spectators,” Patel told The Telegraph on Thursday.
“Everyone will want an early decision. The various stakeholders, the broadcasters, the frachises... We need at least two months to prepare.
“The process involves taking permission from various boards, finalising travel plans and getting stadiums ready. Talks are on and the schedule is tentative since it can be finalised once the official confirmation arrives,” the IPL chairman said.
Sourav made it clear they were willing to have the IPL even behind closed doors.
“The BCCI is working on all possible options to ensure that we are able to stage IPL this year, even if it means playing the tournament in empty stadiums,” the BCCI chief wrote in his letter.
“The fans, franchises, players, broadcasters, sponsors and all other stakeholders are keenly looking forward to the possibility of IPL being hosted this year.
“Recently, a lot of players both from India and other countries, participating in the IPL, have shown keenness on being part of this year’s IPL. We are optimistic and the BCCI will shortly decide on the future course of action on this,” he said.
While Patel said they were open to having part of the tournament overseas if the situation demanded, sources said the BCCI was keen on having it in India.
“Taking it out of the country will not send the right signal. We want it to happen here since it would convey the right message in these times of distress. The situation will hopefully improve in the next couple of months,” someone in the know of things told this newspaper.
Sourav has already gone on record saying that the BCCI will incur a loss of around Rs 4,000 crore if the IPL is cancelled. The STAR-BCCI deal may also have to be extended by another edition beyond the five-season period. Ditto for title sponsor Vivo. That will mean no extra revenue for a year.
The five-edition deal with STAR was back-loaded with BCCI having already received around Rs 4,500 crore from the broadcasters. The title sponsor has an annual commitment of around Rs 440 crore. Additionally, there will be a loss of Rs 200 crore from central sponsorship.