File photo: GALLO IMAGES/Ashley Vlotman
File photo: GALLO IMAGES/Ashley Vlotman

New Delhi — The Indian cricket board (BCCI) will seek government permission to stage the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), league chief Brijesh Patel told Reuters on Tuesday.

Monday’s postponement of this year’s Twenty20 World Cup, which had been scheduled to take place in Australia from October 18, has presented the BCCI with a new opportunity to stage the IPL, even if it has to be in another country due to the Covid-19 crisis in India.

Cricket boards in the UAE and Sri Lanka have offered to host the league considering the situation in India where the number of coronavirus cases have surged to 1.16-million by Tuesday morning, including 28,084 deaths.

“We are yet to finalise when it will begin, maybe sometime in September,” IPL governing council chair Patel said. “[The Emirates Cricket Board] made an offer to host it but we require government permission to stage it in UAE. We’ll discuss the issue in the next governing council meeting in seven to 10 days.”

The BCCI has been looking for a new window in which to stage the lucrative league, which was postponed days before it was to begin in late March, and avoid a potential $536m loss in revenue. Earlier in July, BCCI treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal said it would consider hosting the IPL abroad as a last resort to salvage the tournament.

The 2009 edition of the franchise-based league, which coincided with India’s elections, was held in SA, and the UAE hosted the early matches of the tournament five years later for the same reason.

“We have played there before and they are familiar in organising international matches. They are well-equipped,” Patel said. “From a pandemic position, too, the situation is significantly better there.” 

Reuters

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