Sri Lanka offers to host IPL 2020 amid COVID-19 crisis

Sri Lanka Cricket president Shammi Silva said he has written to the BCCI offering to host IPL 2020 following its indefinite suspension due to COVID-19.

IPL 2020 trophy

The IPL was scheduled to begin on March 29 but has been indefinitely postponed due to coronavirus pandemic.   -  SPORTZPICS

Sri Lanka has offered to host the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which has now been indefinitely suspended by the BCCI due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 IPL edition was slated to start from March 29 but with the coronavirus outbreak it was first deferred till April 15 and now with the extension of nationwide lockdown in India till May 3, it has been indefinitely suspended.

The Sri Lanka cricket board has written to BCCI offering to host the IPL as its chief believes the country will be clear of coronavirus before India.

“Apparently it will cost the BCCI and its stakeholders more than $500 million to cancel the IPL,” SLC president Shammi Silva told local daily Lankadeepa.

“So perhaps they can minimise those losses by hosting the tournament in another country.

“If they play it in Sri Lanka, it’s easy for Indian audiences to watch the games on TV. There’s precedent for this because they’ve played the IPL in South Africa before. We’re waiting for the Indian board to respond to our proposal,” he added.

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On two occasions in the past, the IPL has been shifted out of India. The 2009 edition of the IPL had been moved to South Africa due to Lok Sabha elections. In 2014, the UAE had hosted the first two weeks of IPL because of the general assembly polls.

“If the Indian board does agree to play the tournament here, we’re ready to provide facilities in line with the requirements and recommendations of medical professionals. It would be a substantial source of income for Sri Lankan cricket as well,” Silva said.

Sri Lanka has so far registered over 230 COVID-19 cases compared to India's number of over 13,000 cases.

However, the lockdown imposed in Sri Lanka is even more severe than that in most parts of India, with a curfew having been put in place for almost four weeks. The Sri Lanka government remains optimistic about eliminating the virus from the country and if the goal is achieved, then Sri Lanka can become a viable option as an IPL venue. However, even then, the government clearance would be required to host such a big tournament.