All speculation around the Indian Premier League 2020 can be laid to rest now. This also includes assumption on the dates.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India is finalising a 41-day schedule for the “60-match full-fledged” IPL Season 13, that will take place across three venues in the UAE.
The Board has already made a formal request to the Government of India for a nod to stage the IPL 2020 in the UAE. The Government approval is mandatory as the players, officials, franchisees and other associates will have to travel to the UAE.
A senior BCCI source has confirmed to SportzFront that September 27 to November 7 dates have been finalised for the IPL 2020.
This is a major and more significant development. The players and the officials, including crew, will not be required to serve a “defined” quarantine period on their arrival in the UAE.
As part of the COVID-19 screening protocol, those flying into the UAE for the IPL will have to avail novel coronavirus negative report prior to their departure for the UAE and again undergo the tests on arrival in the Emirates. The isolation period in the UAE will be limited till the receipt of the negative test report.
Since the UAE has no restrictions on international travel, overseas players will directly fly in and join their respective teams there. The Indian players and officials will travel by chartered flights.
The West Indies and Pakistan cricket teams had to serve the mandatory two-week quarantine ahead of their respective international series in England.
NO DIWALI WEEK-END FOR IPL
A formal announcement on the September 27-November 7 IPL 2020 dates is still awaited. However, the decision confirms that the Board will not accommodate the reported request by the IPL host broadcaster Star India to extend the league till the Diwali weekend.
The IPL final as per the schedule finalised by the BCCI will be played precisely a week before the festival of lights, which also happens to be the peak advertising season for Indian market.
Star Sports, which had committed ₹ 16,347.50 crore for the five-year IPL media rights cycle, wanted to leverage the Diwali period for the league’s sponsorship inventory.
The BCCI also has the obligation of ensuring that the Virat Kohli-led Team India reaches Australia in time for the four-Test series in Australia. The team will also have to serve the two-week isolation period before starting preparations for the first Test, scheduled to start from December 3.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had sought shorter isolation period for Team India prior to their Test Series Down Under. Cricket Australia has turned down the request.
The BCCI bid to accommodate 60 matches across 41 days shall mean more day-time games. Any decline in prime time LIVE action will further dent Star Sports sponsorship and advertisement revenues in a scenario that’s already exceptionally bleak due to COVID-19 pandemic impact on the economy.