Probably the only good news we got in this ungrateful 2020 year, IPL to be hosted! As we all know that the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) came up with this happy news a month ago that the very 13th edition of India’s entertainment soul ‘IPL’ will be hosted in the UAE from September 19th to November 10th. After this news, all the franchises were up and active to begin their preparations. This time it has to be a huge responsibility from the management of the franchises as they would have to make sure the safety protocols for the players and for the support staff as well. As the teams were gearing up for the preparations, a series of bad news led Abu Dhabi Government to create safety doubts against the matches to be played which has made further delays for the announcement of the Schedule of IPL 2020 starting from September 19th.
It is becoming unbearable for the players, fans, franchises and other stakeholders to wait for the final release of the schedule of IPL 2020. The Schedule for IPL 2020 could have been released by now but due to certain mishaps in the CSK camp, the local government of Abu Dhabi has brought certain safety points to be cleared unless it would be hard to host IPL matches there. The BCCI is in regular talks with the Abu Dhabi Government of Emirates, seeking for concessions desperately.
The news of 10 members in the CSK camp being COVID positive after testing done at Dubai has raised major concerns for the Emirates government. Even other franchises have increased their security measures to make sure their members are secured under a bubble. Franchises are trying to build a secured environment where players and coaches are allowed to come out of their hotel only for Practice, training, yoga sessions, and maybe for some recreational activities where extreme measures for the same are taken care of. Though the breakfast, snacks, lunch, and dinner are served in the player rooms only. The teams are strictly instructed to follow the COVID protocols.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) governing council chairman Brijesh Patel and the interim BCCI CEO Mr. Hemang Amin are in UAE presently, seeking continuous communications with the Emirates authorities. They are seeking concessions from the strict safety impositions by the Emirates government in order to host IPL matches in the locations without much hindrance to players.
In this tension, a source from a franchise quotes “The BCCI has not informed the franchises anything yet about the schedule of IPL 2020. But for the franchises like us, we are assuming the IPL to happen as expected from September 19th as we and mostly all the franchises have landed UAE for the preparations. If the IPL was not to happen, then the BCCI should’ve instructed us well before. The Franchises have spent a lot of money on their teams to bring them all the way to UAE”
“If the BCCI had to cancel the IPL, they should’ve done it way before and now it would be very hard to the franchises if the BCCI decides to cancel it today. Also, we have called all our players from different countries to whom we will have to pay as well. We can’t tell the players that since they were not engaged in any match, they won’t be paid. All that should be taken into consideration while arriving at such a major decision. Though the BCCI and IPL officials are trying their best to come out with a conclusion with the local Governments of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.”
As Abu Dhabi Government is imposing serious rules on the players and for the matches to be organized there, it was also heard that the teams traveling to Abu Dhabi has to take a Covid-test at the Abu Dhabi Border which takes upto two and a half hours at least. Or else, each member of the team should present a Covid negative result certificate of a test done within 48 hrs. But you cannot let the International superstars and the likes of Rohit, Kohli and Dhoni to stand in a queue for that long.
BCCI and IPL officials are trying to come out with a solution of conducting the Covid tests in the respective hotels of the teams itself. Abu Dhabi has the strictest protocols among the three emirates governments where the IPL matches are scheduled to be organized. Abu Dhabi has actually kept their borders sealed at all the entry-exit points and is allowing people to enter only if they have a furnished certificate of Covid Negative.
The Opening match was set to be played between the Arch rivals “Mumbai Indians” vs “Chennai Super Kings” which was scheduled to be played at Abu Dhabi on September 19th. If BCCI fails to come out with a solution till then, then it may have to cancel the whole Abu Dhabi leg altogether and would have to organize for certain change of plans. BCCI would have to make real fast decisions taking into consideration all the angles.
This delay in the announcement of the schedule have put Star India (the official broadcaster of the IPL) on a halt to finalize their plans and arrangements for the coverage. Star India was also instructed to abide intensively with the protocols set and it was planned that a separate crew would be set in the three destinations (Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah) for the whole tournament. Also, one person from the crew of Star India has tested Covid positive in India and has been grounded there itself.
Let’s see if BCCI and IPL governing officials will get this resolved as soon as possible so that the teams could be in a good frame of mind. Everyone has their fingers crossed as people are so excited to witness the likes of Dhoni, Kohli, De-Villiers, Rohit, and many other superstars after such a long time.