Despite the commitment of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in hosting the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year, some franchises are “still unsure” about the fate of the cash-rich tournament. Cricket has recently resumed with the three-match Test series between England and West Indies, while the much awaited series in India is still looking for a window to stage.
According to reports, the lack of clarity on the fate of the IPL is damaging the interests of the franchises, players and the sponsors. “We are still unsure about IPL season this year. Our foreign players have been sending messages for clarity on the season but like everyone else at this stage we don’t have any answers,” said Chief Executive Officer of one of the IPL franchise.
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Last week, the BCCI chief said that hosting the tournament this year in India is their “first priority” and they will not let 2020 “to finish without an IPL”. “BCCI has been updating us, but with each passing day we are losing hope now on IPL 2020,” the anonymous CEO added. Another issue the franchise owners are facing is the uncertainty on major sponsors as most of India is calling to boycott Chinese sponsors.
Aside from IPL title sponsor VIVO, the mobile phone manufacturer, online fantasy game entity Dream11 — an associate sponsor of BCCI and IPL — has Chinese investment. All of these are in jeopardy following the dispute in Indian Territory. Recently, another top sponsor and the league’s biggest advertisers – Coca-Cola – is reportedly parting contract with the league.
The cash-rich Twenty20 competition, due to begin on March 29 and pushed back to April 15, was postponed indefinitely in April due to the ongoing threats of the coronavirus pandemic. According to previous reports, the BCCI has spoken to all the franchises, media partners and other stakeholders of IPL and came up as September 26 to November 8 as the window to host the lucrative cricket league.
However, the dates are subject to change and cancellation depending on International Cricket Council (ICC) and the expected postponement of Twenty20 World Cup in Australia. Earlier this week, Cricket Australia (CA) chairman Carl Eddings claimed that hosting the showpiece event this year ‘unrealistic’ despite the country looks good to host the event in October following the successful COVID-19 handling.
Previously, the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, in a letter to state associations and stakeholders, said that the governing body “is working on all possible options to ensure that we are able to stage the IPL this year, even if it means playing the tournament in empty stadiums”. He said that they are “optimistic” about the return of cricket as the governing “will shortly decide on the future course of action on this”.
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