Ahead of the Indian Premier League, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to allow bubble-to-bubble transfer for the players and support staff featuring in the India-England series, the Caribbean Premier League and in South Africa's tour of Sri Lanka.
In a 46-page health advisory circulated to the eight franchises - which Sportstar has seen - the Board has made it clear the players and the support staff, who are part of the bubble-transfer will be permitted to join their respective franchises without serving the mandatory quarantine period. Commentators and broadcast crew who are working on these three series can also avail bubble to bubble transfers provided they satisfy the safety criteria.
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“After conclusion of the England vs. India series in the UK, Sri Lanka and CPL, the players, team support staff, commentators and broadcast crew continue to remain in their respective Bio-Secure Environments and are transported in the team bus straight to the aircraft where they are exempted from immigration and other formalities at the departing airport. The team bus drops the players straight on to the tarmac thereby avoiding the need for players to pass through the airport terminal building preventing contact with other people outside the Bio Secure Environment,” the advisory stated.
A chartered aircraft will be booked exclusively for them to travel to Dubai. Upon arrival at Dubai airport, they are granted special exemptions whereby they will be “transported from the aircraft straight to the team hotel. The team bus picks the players from the airport tarmac thereby avoiding the need for them to pass through the airport terminal building preventing contact with other people outside the Bio-Secure environment.”
The board will create 14 bubbles - eight for the franchises, three for the match officials and management team and three for broadcast members and crew - during the tournament, which resumes in the United Arab Emirates on September 19.
All the players and staff, who will be part of the bubble transfer, will have to undergo one RT-PCR test on the day of arrival. If the test report is negative, they will be allowed to join their respective teams. “Thereafter, all such individuals will be tested regularly for COVID-19 similar to other members in their franchise,” the advisory said.
“Prior intimation to IPL Chief Operating Officer (COO) is mandatory if the teams are exploring the above mentioned travel arrangements. If the BCCI Chief Medical Officer is not satisfied with the strict adherence to the travel protocols by any of the individuals, they will have to quarantine for 6 full days and undergo 3 RT-PCR tests before participation in IPL matches,” the advisory added.
The BCCI also issued a warning to those breaching bubble protocols. “Breach of any Bio-Secure Environment protocols by franchise members or their families will be subject to disciplinary action by the BCCI.”
“During the IPL 2021, members within a Bubble must travel only in the dedicated vehicles from a fleet of buses and cars accredited by BCCI, which will be sanitised regularly. The drivers of all such vehicles will also be in the respective Bubbles, tested regularly for COVID-19 and undergo temperature screening,” the advisory said.