There is more good news for the BCCI and the IPL franchises and the fans of the game at large. After the Indian cricket board confirmed the second half of the IPL would be held in the UAE in a window between late September and early October, they are now working with the Emirates Cricket Board to ensure the fans return to the stadiums for the marquee tournament.
The UAE government has a policy of allowing crowds at sporting venues subject to them being vaccinated. With most of the country’s population already inoculated, the BCCI is hopeful that the fans will return to the three possible venues - Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
There are 31 matches remaining in the 2021 edition of the IPL and a compact schedule, expected to be announced next week, is likely to witness a number of double head headers on successive days in what will be a hectic schedule. However, the good news is that the crowds will flock back to the stadiums which could be filled to 50% capacity with vaccinated fans.
“The vaccinated fans can be allowed up to 50 per cent of the stadium capacity," stated a UAE board official.
The BCCI officials are in Dubai working on the formalities, the schedule and other issues with the Emirates Cricket Board and the UAE Government. The contingent is being led by Secretary, Jay Shah and he is accompanied by treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal, vice-president Rajeev Shukla and joint secretary Jayesh George. With flights from India currently banned to the UAE, special permission was sought to allow the BCCI officials to fly to Dubai.
The BCCI does not want to delay the planning and wants to discuss the logistical and operational issues of the league as soon as possible with the Emirates Board and Government. Another topic of discussion would be over the concessional price for the hotels which are apparently asking for exaggerated rates due to the Dubai Expo.
The Emirates Board is confident of hosting the IPL - as they successfully did in 2020. They also have the experience of hosting many other leagues including the PSL which starts early June.
The 2021 edition of the IPL was suspended mid-way in early May after several players and support staff tested positive for Covid-19 with a breach of bio-bubbles across different host venues.