BCCI to allow bubble to bubble transfer during IPL 2021

The fourteenth edition of the IPL is scheduled to start on April 9 with a mouthwatering clash between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

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Published - Mar 21, 2021, 10:08 IST | Updated - Mar 21, 2021, 10:08 IST

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has issued the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and the bio-secure protocols ahead of the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The fourteenth edition of the competition is scheduled to be played from April 9. Defending champions Mumbai Indians will lock horns against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the tournament-opener.

The entire competition will be played at a total of six venues and none of the teams will play a game at their home venue. Coming to the SOPs, the BCCI has permitted bubble-to-bubble transfers for the IPL 2021. The Indian board has announced that the players can directly enter a franchise bubble from their national-team bubbles.

The BCCI has also stated that the players taking part in the series between India and England can directly enter their IPL Bubbles without having to undergo a quarantine period.  However, in other circumstances, the players, owners, commentators, and anyone who needs to enter the bubble, must undergo seven days of quarantine.

“Players coming directly from the Bubble created for the India vs. England series, may be permitted to join the franchise squad without serving the mandatory quarantine period, provided they satisfy the criteria of moving directly to the franchise team hotel either in the team bus or on a chartered flight (sic),” the BCCI stated according to Cricbuzz.

“If chartered flights are used then all protocols for crew members must be followed. If the travel arrangements are to the satisfaction of the BCCI Chief Medical Officer then such players will directly enter the franchise team Bubble without the need to serve a quarantine period or undergo an RT-PCR test,” added the board.

12 bio-bubbles, no vaccination as of now for IPL 2021

The report further stated that the BCCI will create a total of 12 bio-bubbles. Out of those 12, eight bubbles will be for franchise teams and support staff, two will be for match officials and match management teams while the remaining two will be for broadcast commentators and crew. The BCCI will also appoint up to four security staff, who will be the designated bubble integrity managers, with each franchise team.

They will be part of the respective team bubbles and travel with the teams for the entire duration of IPL 2021. Earlier this month, the sixth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) had to be postponed after the PCB failed to ensure a strict bio-bubble. A total of seven individuals tested positive for COVID-19 before the PCB suspended the competition. Meanwhile, the BCCI will also provide a tracking device in the form of a wrist band and all the individuals need to wear it at all times, including in the hotel premises.

“Their job will be to report any Bio-secure Environment protocol breaches by members of the franchise team to the BCCI Chief Medical Officer,” the note said.

In another development, the BCCI has stated that it won’t be able to vaccinate those who will be a part of IPL 2021. There were rumours that the cricketers could be allowed to jump the queue and get the COVID-19 vaccines. However, the BCCI has made it clear that there would be no such arrangement as of now.

“The vaccination program against COVID-19 is underway in India and vaccines are currently being administered to the at-risk population viz. front-line workers, health care professionals, people over the age of 60 years and those between the ages of 45-59 years who have comorbidities like cardiac ailments, diabetes, cancer, etc. Until most of the population is vaccinated and immune to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, precautions will need to be taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the community,” the note said.

No danger from cricket balls

The BCCI has also told the IPL franchises that the chances of transmission of the virus through cricket balls are low. At the same time, the BCCI has also announced that proper precautions will be taken during IPL. In its note, the board announced that the fourth umpire will provide a replacement whenever the ball goes in the stands or outside the stadium. The previous ball will be also sanitized once it returns.

Entry guidelines

The BCCI has further issued guidelines for the first leg of the league which will be held in Mumbai and Chennai. The passengers arriving from the UK, Middle East, South Africa, Brazil, and Europe will be required to undergo seven-day quarantine at their own cost. Moreover, those entering Chennai will be required to serve an e-pass issued by the Tamil Nadu government.