The star-studded Indian Premier League cricket will start on September 19 in the United Arab Emirates, its chairman told AFP on Friday, adding that players may need to undergo quarantine.
Although India’s cricket authorities are still awaiting government approval, Brijesh Patel said the world’s richest cricket tournament will be played for 51 days with the final on 8 November.
Under current UAE coronavirus rules, all travellers must self-isolate for two weeks after arriving. “Whatever are the UAE rules for tourists will be followed by everyone,” Patel told AFP.
“The IPL will take place between September 19 to November 8. This is confirmed and the rest we will decide in the (IPL) governing council meeting next week.”
Top stars ranging from England’s Ben Stokes to Australians Steve Smith and David Warner have been lined up by the eight IPL teams on lucrative contracts. Any quarantine period could clash with domestic seasons.
Patel said the Board of Control for Cricket in India will prepare operating procedures to combat the virus threat during the tournament.
“It is going to be a full-fledged 51-day IPL. We are in touch with the ECB — Emirates Cricket Board. And we will get clearance from the Indian government soon,” he said.
The 13th year of the IPL was meant to have started in March but has been repeatedly postponed because of the pandemic. Dates were finally set after the T20 World Cup, which was scheduled to start in Australia in October, was postponed this week.
The IPL is the BCCI’s main revenue earner. It has said it would lose more than $500 million if this year’s tournament had not gone ahead.