LPL 2020 : Lanka Premier League once again set to be postponed amid missing health clearance

LPL 2020 : The inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL 2020) is in all kind of troubles. According to reports in Sri Lankan media, LPL’s commercial partners Innovative Production Group has defaulted on its first payments to the SriLanka Cricket (SLC). Not only this, but the SLC also have not received the health clearance from the Ministry of Health to go ahead with the Lanka Premier League (LPL).

Such is the situation that SLC is now considering to postpone the LPL Season 1 and there is also now a possibility the tournament will be moved to the UAE or Malaysia.

Tournament director Ravin Wickramratne told ESPNcricinfo that the 14-day quarantine that Sri Lanka’s health ministry is insisting on increasingly appears a dealbreaker for some foreign players, as well as an operational obstacle for broadcast crews and commentators set to come for the tournament.

Having repeatedly cancelled previous iterations of the tournament, SLC is desperate to make it happen this year, and is now considering options to shift the tournament out of Sri Lanka. 

LPL 2020 : IPG Group defaults on first payment to SLC, resolution for Bank Guarantee circulated

 The Sunday Times has reported that the  IPG Group owns the franchise, ground and television rights of the event. The event rights holder of the LPL has failed to settle the rights fees to date, even though the agreement entered into between Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and IPG on October 14, 2020, required an immediate payment.

This is despite SLC having sent several reminders to IPG upon submission of the invoice to settle a balance of US$ 1,775,000. The IPG entered into a five-year agreement with a Dubai-based company which in turn agreed to pay a sum of US$ 1,920,000 annually for the first two years of the five-year deal. They agreed to increase it by 10 per cent each subsequent year.

Having defaulted the payment thus far, the company suggested to submit a bank guarantee in lieu of the rights fee payable for the year 2020.  

However, the agreement does not permit the submission of a bank guarantee. The SLC is now seeking the approval of the membership by way of a resolution to allow the submission of a bank guarantee provided that it can be encashed within 24 hours of submission.

“However, in view of the request made by IPG and to safeguard the interest of SLC, SLC proposed to the IPG that the Bank guarantee may be accepted by SLC provided such bank guarantee can be en-cashed within 24 hours of its submission,” the resolution circulated on October 30 reads.

LPL 2020 : Health authorities yet to give clearance to SLC to conduct LPL

SLC CEO Ashley de Silva said, “We have decided on the dates and we have sought health clearance. We have written to the health authorities and are waiting for their response. Hopefully, we should get it on Monday (today).”

LPL Tournament Director Ravin Wickramaratne said that 178 names were submitted last week to the Health Ministry for their approval and that included the production crew, commentators and players, but so far, they haven’t received anything.

“We addressed the letter to the Director-General of the Ministry of Health. They said they will have to consult the COVID Task Force; one person said that they will have to go to the President. We are waiting to meet the Sports Minister and get a directive,” he said.

Speaking further Wickramaratne said, “Before 4 November all the players have to be in Sri Lanka, otherwise we have no option but to put back the tournament at least by one week. Then we might have to check players’ availability again, but it is only seven days that we will have to postpone.”