Can IPL be played with spectators?

Jasprit Bumrah (BCCI)

The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is hopeful of getting the government’s clearance to fill 30-50 % of the stadiums with spectators for IPL 2020, which is scheduled to be held in the country from September 19 to November 10.

“We will definitely want our people to experience this prestigious event but it is totally the government’s decision,” UAE board secretary Mubashshir Usmani told PTI. “For most events here, the number ranges from 30 to 50% capacity, we are looking at a similar number. We are hopeful of getting our government’s approval on that.”

Currently, the UAE has just over 6200 active cases of Covid-19, and Usmani believed that it would reduce further by the time the IPL gets underway.

“The UAE government has been very efficient in bringing down the case numbers,” he said. We are almost living a normal life with certain rules and protocols to be followed. And with the IPL still some time way, we will be in an even better place than what it is right now.”

The UAE board has received an official letter of intent from the BCCI for hosting IPL 2020, and is now waiting for the formal nod from the Indian government to “ink the final deal” with the BCCI. The protocols for the tournament in the UAE are expected to be finalised during the IPL governing council’s meeting on August 2.

But would the UAE board be able to manage the training sessions of eight franchises?

“UAE is blessed with the support of private infrastructure,” Usmani said. “We are able to deliver such events and have delivered before. Last year, we hosted the T20 World Cup qualifier which had 14 teams.”

It’s not a completely new experience for the ECB, as the first 20 games of the 2014 IPL were held in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah because of the Indian general elections.

“Last time also, it contributed significantly to the UAE economy,” Usmani said. “With the full tournament taking place this time, it will be a much bigger boost.” (ESPNCricinfo)