190411 IPL
An ecstatic bunch of Mumbai Indians cricketers after winning the IPL in 2019. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: A top level delegation of the Indian cricket board is expected to arrive in Dubai by third week of August to do a recce of the venues and other infra-structure of the UAE, which is all set to host the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League from September 19 to November 10.

The chairman of IPL, Brijesh Patel, Hemang Amin, interim CEO of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and COO of IPL, will be heading the team which will have to quarantine themselves for six days on arrival in their hotel rooms before they get down to business. The eight franchises, whose Indian players have started to assemble in respective cities to quarantine themselves and take the mandatory PCR tests, will also be touching down in the UAE around the same time with the aim of holding preparatory camps.

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“We have got the official permission from the government to hold IPL in UAE,” Patel told an Indian news agency on Monday, something which was reported in the Gulf News on August 6.

The UAE got a big thumbs up from the BCCI mandarins for it’s smooth conduct of the IPL in 2014, when the Parliamentary elections forced them to shift the event here. The country was also their ‘‘preferred choice’’ for the 2019 edition with another election coming in the way, but the Indian government managed to retain the showpiece in the country on that occasion.

“Taking note of the prevailing COVID-19 situation in India, the IPL GC decided to stage the tournament in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the matches will be played in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi subject to necessary clearances from the Government of India,” BCCI had earlier said in a press release after their governing council meeting on August 2.

We have got the official permission from the government to hold IPL in UAE

- Brijesh Patel, IPL chairman

The Indian board, which suspended the title-sponsorship with Chinese mobile phone manufacturers VIVO for the 2020 edition, has released their Expression of Interest (EOI) from third parties on Monday evening. ‘‘The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) invites third parties to express their interest (EOI) in acquiring the title sponsorship rights (Rights) for the Indian Premier League 2020 (IPL or League) to be held in United Arab Emirates from September 19, 2020 to November 10, 2020,’’ the release said.

‘‘The Rights are available for the period from August 18, 2020 to December 31, 2020,’’ said the release, which also stipulates that the turnover of the interested third party must be over Rs 300 Crores (Dh 150 million) as per the last audited accounts.

Informed sources in the BCCI say at least three to four companies are expected to jump into the fray, vindicating their president Sourav Ganguly’s statement that VIVO’s pullout is nothing but a ‘blip’ in their plans. Patanjali Ayurved, an Indian company, is the latest corporate to express their interest in the title-sponsorship along the likes of e-commerce giants Amazon, e-learning portal Byju’s (Indian team’s jersey sponsors) and fantasy Dream-11.

The last date of submission of EOI is August 14 while a final decision on the new sponsors will be taken by August 18.