With the possibility of the IPL season 13 (IPL 2020) happening in September-November increasing, the BCCI has started looking for alternate venues for the tournament, given the spike in Coronavirus cases in India and especially their preferred venue, Mumbai.
The postponement announcement of the T20 World Cup, to be held in October-November in Australia, is imminent, creating a window for the IPL.
"Staging the event in India has to be the first choice but in case it is not safe to have it, then we will look at the overseas options. UAE, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand have also offered to host the IPL," a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
"We will sit down with all stakeholders (broadcaster, teams, etc) and take a call. The safety of the players is paramount. There will be no compromise on that," the official said.
The entire 2009 edition of the tournament was played in South Africa due to general elections and then again in 2014, the first half of the tournament was held in UAE due to the same reasons.
However in 2019, despite elections, BCCI managed to schedule the IPL in India avoiding clashing with poll dates in various states.
The UAE again is the front-runner to host the tournament if it happens overseas. Sri Lanka is a cost-effective option while New Zealand, which has been largely free from COVID-19, but practical feasibility is an issue.
India has a seven and half hour time difference with New Zealand and even if it starts at 12:30 pm in the afternoon, maximum office-goers (even those who work from home) will miss the action.
Apart from Hamilton to Auckland, which can be covered by road, places like Wellington, Christchurch, Napier or Dunedin will require air travel.
IPL Governing Council meeting will be announced soon, in which the official dates of the IPL 2020 and issues including the Chinese sponsorship deals in the IPL, will be discussed. The BCCI had called for an IPL GC meet more than two weeks ago following the India-China clash at the Galwan Valley.
Anti-China sentiment has been on the rise in India ever since the "violent" face-off between the two Asian giants. Chinese mobile phone manufacturers VIVO have a lucrative 5-year deal with BCCI for sponsoring the IPL, with the board getting INR 440 cr annually. Indian companies with Chinese investments like Paytm are also involved in the IPL.