The IPL 2020 is all set to take centre stage in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from September 19. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, BCCI had to postpone the league and later shifted to UAE because of the continuous rise of coronavirus cases in India. Earlier reports stated that much like every other sporting matches, the IPL to will be played behind closed doors.
However now it seems that IPL may become the first sporting league where we might see spectators inside the stadiums. Emirates Cricket Boards (ECB) General Secretary Mubashshir Usmani is closely working with the United Arab Emirates government to chart out a protocol that could allow fans to witness live action from the stands.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to assess the current situation in the UAE if Usmani gets the official approval from the government.
Fans to attend IPL 2020 matches in UAE?
“As hosts, Emirates Cricket Board will work closely with the authorities to seek approval on what protocols need to be followed”, Usmani told Cricketnext.
“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”, he added.
Meanwhile, with IPL being a significant attraction in UAE their cricket board is keen on making it elevated by allowing the participation of cricket fans during the match. The BCCI has also worked on a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the franchises and players to follow. It will see each team remain in its bio-secure bubble to protect them from the pandemic.
Usmani continued, “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. The SOP surrounding the arrangements are currently being prepared by these experts and once the authorities provide us with the finalized guidelines we can implement”.
“Hosting such a popular sporting event can only be considered as a very good thing for Cricket in and across the UAE. Exposing some of the best T20 sportspeople in the world to our resident and Emirati population will no doubt generate interest in the game, grassroots, amateur and professional level”, the ECB General Secretary concluded.
BCCI has laid down a strict plan in which they have stated that comprehensive testing of players will also be done once each 5 days during the league in the UAE. Franchises are already departing for the UAE well in advance in order to complete their quarantine period.