The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday confirmed that it has received the official ‘Letter of Intent’ from the BCCI accepting their offer to host the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) in the UAE.
Last week, IPL chairman Brijesh Patel had announced the dates of the tournament, September 19-November 8, and said the tournament will be held in the UAE subject to Indian’s government’s approval.
“We have received the (official) letter and now wait on the decision from the Indian Government which will ink the final deal,” said Mubashshir Usmani, Emirates Cricket Board Secretary General, in a statement.
While the Indian government’s approval is awaited, Usmani stated both Boards have “fully mobilised and have instigated discussions with the relevant authorities, including their respective internal working-committees, in preparation of hosting the tournament in a safe, protected environment”.
Hosting the eight-team IPL in a foreign location amid the COVID-19 threat is going to be a major logistical challenge. However, the UAE economy is going to benefit substantially by hosting the T20 extravaganza.
“There are many factors which influence the operations and logistics of hosting what is the world’s most exciting, popular and lucrative tournament. comment Usmani.
“This is a massive movement of people and equipment and we now need to bring in the experts to discuss all aspects of UAE hosting the IPL.
“This includes the Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah Sports Councils, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah Tourism Bodies and the respective Government entities – such as the Police Forces and the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention,” he said.
All the government entities of UAE have proven experience of delivering an event of this magnitude, Usmani said.
“All of whom have had strong, proven experience in such activities and we will work together to ascertain the best practices to support and deliver on a successful edition.”
UAE has the experience of hosting the world’s biggest T20 league, having staged a part of the 2014 edition due to the general elections in India.
“We have a sound, solid understanding of what is required, and to whom we need to consult and engage with from this early stage through to close of the Tournament,” said Usmani.
The IPL Governing Council is expected to meet in order to finalise organisational plans for the tournament, including issuing SOPs which the teams are awaiting.
The tournament is expected to be held under strict safety protocols. The COVID-19 situation in UAE seems to under control with more than 6000 active cases.
“Firstly, we are extremely pleased with how the UAE Government responded to the virus, which was as early as February and we continue to see encouraging numbers across the country – in decreasing cases and increasing recoveries, said Usmani.
“Secondly, we will fully support any requirements stipulated by the relevant Health Authorities in regards to Covid-19 safety measures and management.
“Ultimately, as owners of the IPL, the BCCI will lay-out their requirements to the Host nation of which Emirates Cricket continues to reiterate their unwavering support and assistance at every step of the process,” he added