After much anticipation about IPL dates and location, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has finally made an announcement. They have decided to hold the 13th edition of the IPL from 19 September to 10 November, 2020 in the UAE.
“We have decided to go up till November 10 and so the final will be held on a weekday for the first time,” said a BCCI official. “Also, to ensure that there is enough gaps between games considering the travelling and the bio secure environment and keeping all these things in mind, we will have 10 double headers this season.”
Matches will be played in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, subject to necessary clearances from the Indian government.
AT A GLANCE
- IPL 2020 will be held from 19 September to 10 November in the UAE
- Players have to sign consent forms acknowledging risk of COVID-19 infection
- The BCCI has received clearance from the Sports Ministry
In the 100-page Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), the BCCI has highlighted gymnasium, physiotherapy, and medical protocols for training and practice, as well as protocols to manage a suspected COVID-19 case.
It also has the consent form where the players have to acknowledge that there is risk associated with resuming training.
“The BCCI is responsible for ensuring the resumption of cricketing activity in India to help secure employment of all its workforce and also provide a source of entertainment to the fans at the earliest,” read the SOP.
“However, the BCCI is concerned about the high infectivity rate of SARS CoV-2 and in the interest of health and safety of all players, staff and stakeholders, the BCCI would not like to compromise on the preventive measures by resuming too soon. The purpose of these protocols is to ensure the safe resumption of cricket activities and the below guidelines may be amended from time to time as may be required depending on the existing Covid-19 situation in the country and the guidelines issued by the Government of India at appropriate times.”
All BCCI-affiliated cricket associations are expected to adhere to these guidelines, along with taking approvals from local administration and health authorities before commencing cricket activities.
Franchises have been advised to begin visa processes shortly, with teams allowed to leave for the UAE only after 20 August.
“We have not got the SOPs yet, but we have been given the go-ahead to start preparation and the visa process will start from tomorrow onwards. The hotels have already been blocked so that is no issue. The blueprints are ready,” an official from an IPL franchise team revealed.
The BCCI is optimistic of getting the complete go-ahead from the government in the coming week to move the tournament to UAE.
“The BCCI has received clearance from the Sports Ministry and we are hopeful of a positive response from the other departments quite soon as well,” said a BCCI official.
It has yet to be announced if fans will be able to buy tickets and attend the games. Players like Delhi Capitals’ Ajinkya Rahane feel players will get used to the Covid-19 protocols quickly, though they will miss the presence of fans in the stands.
“Fans are everything to us. When they come out and support us in the stadiums, it feels really good, inspires us to do well,” Rahane said. “Again, you got to think about their health and safety as well. We will miss them in the stadium. We are going to play for them, for our fans. I am sure they will enjoy watching us on TV.”