IPL 2020: ECB working with UAE government to allow spectators in stands

The ECB will also be discussing the matter with the BCCI if it gets government approval.

Pakistan Super League
An almost empty stadium in Dubai. (Photo Source: Twitter/Saj_PakPassion)

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The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is trying to put its best forward to make sure that the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) doesn’t end up being played behind closed doors. Sporting events amidst the COVID-19 pandemic have resumed in front of empty stands. But the ECB is, reportedly, working with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government to figure out a protocol for allowing crowds at venues.

The development was put forth by ECB General Secretary Mubashshir Usmani. The UAE board will also be discussing the matter with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) if Usmani gets the government approval.

IPL 2020 to see spectators?

“As hosts, Emirates Cricket Board will work closely with the authorities to seek approval on what protocols need to be followed,” Usmani was quoted as saying in Cricket Next.

“This includes fan-attendance, we will then discuss with the BCCI to assess their spectator requirements. We want our Asian diaspora, as well as the other ex-pat and Emirati sports-loving fans in the UAE to be able to watch the action from the stands,” he stated.

In its Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the BCCI has mentioned that the teams will be kept in their respective bubbles. The players will also be tested throughout once in five days.

“The authorities will provide both us and the BCCI with the UAE safety guidelines in a timely manner which the teams and officials will follow. The SOP surrounding the arrangements are currently being prepared by these experts and once the authorities provide us with the finalized guidelines we can implement,” Usmani added.

The 53-day tournament will take place at the three venues in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. As per Usmani, the ECB have the necessary infrastructure to host the tournament without any hassle. He also believes that a tournament like the IPL can do a world of good for cricket in the UAE.

“Hosting such a popular sporting event can only be considered as a very good thing for Cricket in and across the UAE,” he added. Back in 2014, 20 IPL matches took place in the UAE due to the elections in India. The upcoming edition of the IPL will get underway in September 19.