The BCCI brass spent a long time deliberating and putting together the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that will need to be followed during the 2020 IPL in the UAE. The BCCI got together on 02 August and released a detailed SOP that IPL franchises and teams will need to follow at all times. The 2020 IPL is scheduled to take place from 19 Sep to November 10.
2020 IPL – Match Schedule
IPL fans will be interested to know that the 2020 IPL will be the longest in the history of the 8-team format. This IPL edition will last for 53 days and 10 of these days will feature double header matches. The tournament organizers have tried not to schedule too many double headers because the afternoon games will be played in intense heat in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai.
The night games are scheduled to take place from 7.30 pm IST which is 6 pm UAE time and the afternoon games will take place from 3.30 IST which is at 2 pm UAE time. The first stage of the IPL will be played in empty stadiums but the second stage of the IPL could see fans in attendance as the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is keen on filling the stadiums to atleast 50 percent capacity.
The SOP has confirmed that IPL franchises will be able to tour with a max of 24 players per squad. There will also be an unlimited number of COVID-19 substitutes allowed. The 24 limit player squad could pose a challenge for three IPL franchises (Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab) as all of them have listed a 25 member squad on their websites.
IPL Will Continue With Vivo As Main Sponsor
The on-going tensions between India and China have resulted in a push for Indian companies to sever ties Chinese companies and for Indians to stop using Chinese branded products. The Indian government banned over 50 Chinese apps from being used in India including the popular TikTok app.
The BCCI also decided to look into its sponsorship deals given the fact that its chief sponsor VIVO which is a Chinese mobile company. Given the fact that the BCCI gets handsomely paid by VIVO for its sponsorship contract, the BCCI has decided to continue to allow VIVO to be the main sponsor for the 2020 VIVO IPL.
This does not come as a surprise as the BCCI would have lost millions of dollars and also been taken to court if it decided to severe ties with VIVO before its sponsorship contract came to an end. The BCCI has promised to relook at things once the contract is finished.
Key Points In The IPL SOP
The IPL SOP has a lot of rules and regulations to ensure player safety and well-being. The SOP makes it clear to IPL franchises and players that despite all of the SOPs there is risk involved in playing the 2020 IPL and it will be up to each individual to accept this risk and sign a consent form.
The BCCI is looking to create a bio-bubble in the UAE similar to what the NBA is doing in Florida, USA. Once players enter the bio-bubble they will not be able to leave the bubble until the IPL is finished.
Strict regulations and protocols will have to be followed at all times in the bio-bubble not only by the players but also by the support staff, IPL commentators and everyone involved in the 2020 IPL. The BCCI will also work with the ECB to ensure that all hotel staff and restaurant staff are COVID-19 negative before they interact with IPL players and staff.
Wives and girlfriends (WAGs) are usually part of each IPL edition but this time around the BCCI is not very keen on having the WAGs on tour. The BCCI will discuss the same with each IPL franchise as it will be up to each IPL franchise to ensure the safety and protection of the WAGs.
Discussion With IPL Franchises
The BCCI and IPL governing body will meet with IPL franchises to discuss the SOPs in detail as IPL franchises are bound to have a long list of questions regarding the SOPs. Once the BCCI clarifies all of these questions, the IPL franchises will then have to download the same to their players. We must also point out that the BCCI is yet to get official approval from the central government to proceed with the 2020 IPL in the UAE. However, this appears to be a formality given the strong political ties that the BCCI has with the ruling government.