The remainder of the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the September-October window.
In a Special General Meeting chaired by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly on Saturday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed to the State units that the tournament will have to be shifted out of India on account of ‘monsoon.’
Choosing not to point to the COVID-19 crisis, the BCCI instead said India would witness heavy rains in September and therefore it wouldn't be possible to host the IPL in the country. Even though the exact dates weren't announced, it is understood that the tournament will start on September 18 or 19 and end by October 10.
“The Board obviously did not want to point out COVID-19 as the reason behind the shift. It was said that it won’t be possible to host a tournament like the IPL in September amid heavy monsoon,” a State unit member told Sportstar .
The Twenty20 tournament, which was being held across India - in Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, and Ahmedabad - was suspended on May 4 after multiple cases of Covid-19 among players and staff were detected within its bio-bubble. The entirety of the 2020 season was conducted in the UAE behind closed doors.
Questions remain on the availability of overseas players. England’s cricket director Ashley Giles has said that England won't change plans to accommodate IPL 2021 restart, and the Board is now having discussions with overseas boards to discuss the availability of the players.
The franchises have already sought clarity on the availability of players from Australia and New Zealand. And BCCI insiders claim that the top brass is in regular conversation with overseas boards to work out a plan.
A BCCI delegation - including BCCI chief Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah and vice-president Rajiv Shukla - is expected to travel to the UAE soon and take stock of things with the Emirates Cricket Board and the local authorities. "A lot needs to be discussed and the team will discuss the itinerary, travel plans and also the quarantine rules keeping the bubble transfers in mind," a Board official said.
While the compensation package for the domestic cricketers was not part of the agenda, the Board informally told the State units that it will get back to them in due course of time. Last season, about 700 domestic players suffered financially after the cancellation of the Ranji Trophy. And in its Annual General Meeting in December, the Board had proposed compensation. But so far, nothing has materialised.
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