While most major sporting events in the world returned in the expense of playing behind closed doors, the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), hosts of Indian Premier League 2020 (IPL 2020), is keen to allow fans to watch the matches in stadiums in the wake of a pandemic. Reports claim that ECB is working with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government to figure out a protocol for allowing crowds at venues.
In an interview, ECB General Secretary Mubashshir Usman said that the board will also be discussing the matter with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), who will have a big say in the matter, if he gets the government approval from the UAE government. The long-halted cash-rich IPL 2020 tournament, postponed in March and April, is set to commence on September 19.
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“As hosts, Emirates Cricket Board will work closely with the authorities to seek approval on what protocols need to be followed,” Usmani told a news portal. “This includes fan attendance, we will then discuss with the BCCI to assess their spectator requirements. We want our Asian diaspora, as well as the other ex-pat and Emirati sports-loving fans in the UAE to be able to watch the action from the stands.”
In its Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the BCCI has mentioned that the teams will be kept in their respective bubbles and players will also be tested throughout once in five days. “The authorities will provide both us and the BCCI with the UAE safety guidelines in a timely manner which the teams and officials will follow,” Usmani added.
The 53-day tournament will be played across three venues – Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi – with the final scheduled for November 10. Speaking about the venues, Usmani also added that the all “three venues have access to world-class practice facilities where in Dubai the ICC Academy has the world’s most comprehensive practice facility.” In 2014, 20 IPL matches took place in the UAE.
The teams have started arriving in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, ahead of the IPL 2020 competition. Each of the eight franchises will be based at different hotels, with six plus the IPL officials based in Dubai and two in Abu Dhabi. They will have to quarantine in their hotel rooms, during which time they will undergo three coronavirus tests. There will be follow up tests every five days.
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