Dubai: The Emirates Cricket Board plans to step up their preparations for staging the Indian Premier League this year as they confirmed having received the official Letter of Intent from the Indian cricket board to host the glamorous T20 franchise league in the UAE.
“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, the ECB Secretary General.
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The IPL chairman Brijesh Patel had, on Friday, confirmed a 51-day window from September 19 to November 8 to host the 13th edition of the league in the UAE after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided in principle to take the tournament overseas in view of the spiralling graph of new cases of COVID-19 in India.
However, the Governing Council of IPL, which is now scheduled tentatively to meet on Saturday, are waiting for a green signal from the government to finalise their plans.
The schedule of the 2020 edition, the training camp for players (the franchises are planning to send a bulk of the Indian players on chartered flights at least a month ahead of the tournament) and discussion over the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) are among the topics which will be discussed in the crucial IPL Governing Council meeting to make it all systems go.
“There are many factors which influence the operations and logistics of hosting what is the world’s most exciting, popular and lucrative tournament,” Usmani said in a statement. “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, all who 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,” he said.
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Having hosted the first leg of the 2014 edition, Usmani noted that the UAE are well positioned with its experience on delivering the 2020 edition. “We have a sound, solid understanding of what is required, and whom we need to consult and engage with from this early stage through to close of the tournament,” he said. Commenting on UAE’s cricket infrastructure, Usmani said: “UAE boasts some of the best practice facilities and stadia in the world across three emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah) which we are confident will be more than adequate to support the eight-team tournament.”
Commenting on the current status of the pandemic in the UAE, Usmani said: “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. Secondly, we will fully support any requirement stipulated by the relevant Health Authorities in regards to COVID-19 safety measures and management.”