UK-based firm likely to manage IPL 2020 bio-bubble in UAE

The UK-based firm, which created the bio-bubble for the two Test series in England - is likely to be roped in to manage the bio-secure bubble for the Indian Premier League in the UAE.

IPL 2020 will be held across three venues - Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.   -  Prashant Nakwe

The UK-based firm, which created the bio-bubble for the two Test series in England - against the West Indies and Pakistan - is likely to be roped in to manage the bio-secure bubble for the Indian Premier League (IPL), scheduled to be held in the UAE from September 19.

Restrata - a company that specialises in integrated safety, security and mobility operating system - has been working with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to build the bio-secure bubble for England’s dual Test series.

When the UK hosted the Olympics in 2012, Restrata was tasked with developing and implementing specialised security systems and services for the Olympic Park and other venues in London.

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Restrata - which also operates from the UAE - remained tight-lipped on the issue, however, it has been learnt that the company has been zeroed in for the project because of its prior experience and cost-effectiveness. Although the local UAE media has claimed that VPS Healthcare - a local company - are the front-runners.

Also, Tata Medical and Diagnostics was in the fray, but it is understood that Restrata is in advanced talks with the BCCI and things will be formalised in a day or two.

“They have started executing the project a couple of days ago. They are getting all the equipment and other things required for the project to the UAE and preparation is underway. Even their local units have done a recce of the hotels to come up with a plan,” one of the officials confirmed to Sportstar.

In its meeting with the Board top brass a few days ago, the UK-based company stressed on the fact that it will develop a track and trace technology, to keep a tab on the people working in specific zones.

It has been also learnt that the accreditation cards issued to all the stakeholders could have a GPS chip, which will give the IPL authorities and the franchises a real-time update to track the movement of the people inside the bubble. This system - used by the ECB during the Tests against West Indies and Pakistan - will be useful to keep the bubble intact, keeping all the health and safety standards in mind.

“Since the tournament will be held across three venues - Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah - it is important to make sure that the bio-bubble is intact. In the time of pandemic, the health and safety issues of all the players and other stakeholders are of utmost importance, so we cannot afford to compromise on that,” an official said.

The IPL teams are scheduled to reach the Emirates, starting from Thursday. They will have to go for a mandatory six-day quarantine and undergo COVID tests, before starting the training sessions.

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