The BCCI announced the IPL 2021 schedule on March 7 earlier this month. The season will kickstart on 9 April with Royal Challengers playing Mumbai Indians in the season opener. The final and the playoffs will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Each team is set to play at four venues during the league stage. Out of the 56 league matches, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata & Bengaluru will host 10 matches each while Ahmedabad and Delhi will host 8 matches each.
One of the highlights of this edition of the VIVO IPL will be the fact that all matches will be played at neutral venues, no team will play at their home venue. All teams will play at 4 out of 6 venues during the league stage. Meanwhile, 10 new rules have been introduced in the new season keeping the impact of COVID-19 in mind. The rules are in place for the better management of players and the smooth conduct of the season.
10 New Rules Introduced In IPL 2021
Family and Owners to be Kept in Bubble
The family members of players will be kept in one single bubble along with the franchise owners. They can leave the bubble only in high-profile and emergency situations. They will also need to get a written confirmation from the BCCI for the same.
Team Areas in Hotel to be Sealed Off
In another interesting rule, the BCCI has said to the franchisees to try and book entire hotels for their squads. In case that is not possible an entire ward or wing from the hotel would be reserved for the team and would be sealed off for those not part of the group. This would prevent any chance of contact with people from outside.
Bubble Integrity Managers In Place
To ensure that the players not breaking the bubble and not breaking the sanctity of the rules in place, a four-member team of ‘Bubble Integrity Managers’ will be created for each side. They will ensure that players and the support staff adhere to the stringent rules. It will also be the responsibility of this group to inform the authorities about any breach of the protocols.
Bearing Their Own Expenses
The various IPL franchises have been asked to bear the expenses of their overseas players who will fly in from different parts of the world like the Caribbean, UK, Europe, South Africa, Brazil, and Middle East.
To reduce the load of quarantine on players, the players involved in the current India-England series will be allowed to move to the IPL bubble directly in a bubble to bubble transfer at the end of the ongoing series.
E-Pass For Players In Chennai
A special e-pass will be allocated to the players moving into Chennai as a part of the rules put in place by the Tamil Nadu government. Also, this rule has been given a thumbs up by the various provinces in the state.
Three RT-PCR Tests Needed for Entering Bubble
All the players and franchise owners will need to go through three RT-PCR Tests when they travel from one bubble to another. Only if they clear the test, will they be allowed to move into a new bubble. The three tests will be taken over a period of a week.
Separate Check-in Counters
To ensure maximum security to the players, separate check-in counters will be in place at the hotels so that players remain separated from outside elements throughout their transit from rooms to field.
No Contact Between BCCI Officials and Players
The top BCCI officials will not be allowed to enter any bubble throughout the season. This also means that they will not be able to meet any players or officials who are inside a particular bubble.