New Zealand offers to host IPL, but BCCI's priority is to host tournament at home

Countries, including Sri Lanka, UAE and New Zealand have shown interest in hosting the IPL. But BCCI treasurer says the first aim is to host the event in India.

IPL Trophy

BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal stated that as of now, the Board’s aim is to conduct the entire tournament in India.   -  K. V. S. Giri

As the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, there seems to be a big question mark over the future of the Indian Premier League. While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is confident of hosting the tournament, there are doubts as to whether the league will at all be staged in the country or will be moved abroad?

After United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka, a report by PTI has suggested that New Zealand has shown interest in hosting the franchise-based league.

A few weeks ago, New Zealand declared itself COVID-19 free and even hosted the rugby fixtures in packed stadiums. However, the time difference and logistical issues could lead to difficulties in hosting the tournament in New Zealand.

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“Some countries have shown willingness to host the tournament in case we cannot host them in India,” BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal told Sportstar.

Dhumal stated that as of now, the Board’s aim is to conduct the entire tournament in the country. “As of now, we haven’t taken a call. Once we discuss, we will be able to explore the possibilities. The first priority will be to host the league in India. If at all, it is not possible to conduct the tournament due to the pandemic, then only we can think of overseas venues,” Dhumal said, admitting that some of the overseas boards did show willingness to conduct the league.

With the chances of T20 World Cup looking grim, the BCCI has already zeroed in on the end September-early November window for the IPL. While Dhumal having said that the first priority is to host the tournament in India, the franchises informed that nothing has been told to them so far. “We are in darkness about anything. We are yet to receive any communication from the Board. In our previous meetings, the Board officials told us that they are keen on hosting the tournament and are waiting for the necessary guidelines. We are waiting for clarity,” one of the franchise owners told this publication.

Some of the top officials in the know of things, have also indicated that in case the tournament needs to move out of the country, UAE could be the preferred destination. With access to three venues - Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi - conducting the matches in UAE looks like a viable option. However, it would all depend on how things pan out over the next few months.

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A few days ago, the BCCI had put out a tweet claiming that the IPL Governing Council will review the Chinese sponsorship models for the league. However, the meeting hasn’t been held yet. While the Board officials indicate that the Governing Council will meet soon, there is no time frame.

The Board’s apex council will meet on July 17 to discuss the road ahead and Dhumal said that the team is working on the SOP for the players and the stakeholders. While there are talks about the IPL, uncertainty looms large over the domestic season. “The cases are increasing across the country, so it’s too early to comment on anything. We will have to monitor the situation,” Dhumal said. Usually, the domestic season begins in August, but this time, that looks highly unlikely.

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