BCCI's focus on zero COVID-19 cases as IPL 2020 moves to UAE

Updated: 22 July, 2020 07:38 IST | Harit N Joshi | Mumbai

BCCI to examine COVID-19 preventive measures adopted by ICC, European football leagues and Formula One, according to IPL chairman Brijesh Patel as T20 extravaganza will be held in United Arab Emirates just like in 2014

Mumbai Indians's players celebrate winning the 2019 Indian Premier League title after beating Chennai Super Kings at Hyderabad for their fourth triumph. Pic/ Getty Images
Mumbai Indians's players celebrate winning the 2019 Indian Premier League title after beating Chennai Super Kings at Hyderabad for their fourth triumph. Pic/ Getty Images

The BCCI did not waste a day to announce that the Indian Premier League (IPL) will take place after the International Cricket Council decided on Monday to postpone the T20 World Cup to next year.

IPL chairman Brijesh Patel confirmed on Tuesday that the IPL will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The BCCI is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the glitzy T20 league is conducted without any COVID-19 cases during the two-month long tournament.

Patel, a former India batsman, manager and chief selector, said they are closely monitoring the measures put in place for the ongoing England v West Indies Test series as well other sporting events around the globe. "We will have a bio-bubble created for the tournament. We will follow ICC recommendations. We are also looking at other leagues that are taking place in the world at the moment [like the English Premier League, La Liga etc]. We are also looking at measures adopted by FIFA and Formula One. We will take all those measures into account as well and add some if required," Patel told mid-day on Tuesday.

Bangalore-based Patel indicated there will be strict restrictions on the movement of people who are a part of the bio-secure bubble. "It is better to be safe than sorry," he stressed.

The ICC has already banned the application of saliva on the ball. In the EPL, players and officials are tested for Coronavirus once every week. All sporting events conducted at the moment are behind closed doors barring a rugby match that happened recently in New Zealand.

Families of players are an integral part of the IPL, so will they be allowed this time as well? "That's for the franchises to answer. We don't take these decisions," said Patel. "Only those players who are selected will be allowed to travel. There will be no restriction on the support staff members a franchisee can have."

A formal announcement of the IPL happening in UAE will be made after the IPL Governing Council meeting in the "next 10 days." "Yes, the IPL will take place in UAE. We have applied for government permission and clearances," Patel said.

mid-day was the first to report that the IPL could be played overseas in its April 16 edition. It could be held from September 26 to November 7. "We will be meeting in a week or in 10 days' time to discuss the scheduling and other nitty-gritty," Patel said.

IPL chairman Brijesh Patel
IPL chairman Brijesh Patel 

The IPL was first held in the UAE (Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi) in 2014 when it clashed with the general elections in India. Patel is looking to have a full-fledged IPL now that they have a clear window. "We will try to have lesser day games for viewership reasons," said Patel.

The BCCI will leave it to the franchises to decide the venues of their camps. A franchise official said: "All players are in top condition. They have been keeping themselves fit in the lockdown. However, many have not played any cricket. A two-week camp will get them in the groove. It is ideal to have a camp in the UAE. We will decide once we hear from the BCCI," he said.

Meanwhile, the franchise official is expecting sponsorship deals to take a hit. "The timing of the tournament has changed. It won't be a summer tournament now. Given the current economy scenario, some sponsors may back out or renegotiate deals. We will have some clarity once a meeting with the BCCI takes place," he said.

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First Published: 22 July, 2020 07:14 IST

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