Indian government gives BCCI approval to host IPL 2020 in UAE

The government had last week given an “in principle” go-ahead to the BCCI to shift the marquee tournament to the UAE due to rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.

IPL Trophy

The IPL will be held in the UAE from September 19 to November 10 in three cities -- Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.   -  Twitter / @ipl

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has received formal approval to stage the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), clearing the way for the marquee Twenty20 tournament to be held between September 19 and November 10 in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Brijesh Patel, chairman of the IPL governing council, confirmed to Sportstar that the BCCI has “received all the requisite government clearances.”

The IPL governing council had been informed on August 2 that the government had verbally cleared the tournament being rescheduled overseas because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but formal clearance had been delayed due to inexplicable reasons. In addition to the ministry of sports and youth affairs, rescheduling the league overseas required clearance from the ministries of external affairs and home affairs.

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New title sponsor next week

Meanwhile, Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary, released an Invitation for Expression of Interest (EOI) for IPL 2020 title sponsorship through a media statement. The invitation specifies that rights are availabe till December 31 and a business conglomerate with a minimum turnover of Rs. 300 crore turnover will be eligible. The BCCI statement adds that the EOI must be submitted by 5 p.m. on August 14 while the eligible bidders will have to email their bids between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on August 18.

Since the last governing council meet, the IPL has been without a title sponsor, with Vivo India “suspending” its five-year deal. “We have so far received encouraging response from the market,” Patel said.

Interestingly, a Patanjali spokesperson confirmed to PTI on Monday that the Ayurveda-based consumer goods brand is exploring options to bid for title rights. Besides Patanjali, others that are understood to be interested in entering the rights war include Amazon, Dream11, Byju’s and Amul. While Dream11 is the official partner of the IPL and the BCCI, Byju’s is the title sponsor of the Indian cricket team. Both have investments by Chinese entities.