Coronavirus

Cricket: Indian Premier League set for September start in UAE

The long-awaited start of the 2020 Indian Premier League is scheduled to get underway on 19 September in the United Arab Emirates.

Cricket: Indian Premier League set for September start in UAE
MARTIN RICKETT AFP

IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel revealed on Friday that the start of the 2020 competition is scheduled for 19 September with the Governing Council (GC) intending to meet next week to lay out the final details and approve the schedule. The competition will take place in the UAE after India was forced to postpone the event in March due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

"The GC will meet shortly but we have finalized the schedule. It will run from September 19 to November 8. We expect government approval to come through. It is a full 51-day IPL," Patel said.

The IPL season will not clash with T20 World Cup after the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to postpone the October-November event in Australia due to the coronavirus crisis.

Follow all the latest coronavirus-related news in India with our dedicated live blog.

Crowd attendance at IPL games to be decided by UAE

Patel also stated that the possibility of crowd attendance at games will be decided by the UAE government and that if it was deemed safe for spectators social distancing and safety protocols would be maintained at al times. "We are making the SOP and it will be ready in a few days. The decision on whether to allow crowds or not lies with the UAE government. Anyway, social distancing has to be maintained. We have left it for their government to decide on that. We will also be writing to the UAE board formally," Patel added. 

The UAE has three available grounds for the tournament: Dubai International Stadium, Sheikh Zayed Stadium (Abu Dhabi) and the Sharjah ground, while the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will be renting the ICC Academy's grounds (2 full-sized cricket grounds and 38 turf pitches) for participating teams to train.

Although there was speculation the IPL would start on 26 September, the BCCI decided to commence the competition a week earlier so as not to put the Indian national team tour in Australia at risk. "The India team will have a mandatory quarantine of 14 days when they arrive in Australia in line with government regulations. A delay would have sent the plans haywire," said a BCCI official who requested to remain anonymous.