IPL 2020: UAE board keen to have "30-50 per cent" crowd attendance at stadiums

The Emirates Cricket Board wants UAE government to approve people coming into stadiums for IPL 2020.

IPL 2020 is set to begin on September 19 | IANS Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) secretary Mubashshir Usmani said the governing body in UAE is hopeful of at least 30-50 per cent crowd attendance at stadiums for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). 

Usman told PTI that this will require permission from the UAE government, considering the need to implement health protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read Also: Squad strength of franchises for IPL 2020 to be discussed at Governing Council meeting

The BCCI itself is awaiting approval from the central government here to shift the league outside India.

"Once we get the confirmation from the BCCI (on Indian government's approval), we will go to our government with the complete proposal and SOPs which will be prepared by us and the BCCI," said Usman on Friday (July 31). 

"We will definitely want our people to experience this prestigious event but it is totally the government's decision. For most events here, the number ranges from thirty to 50 per cent capacity, we are looking at a similar number. We are hopeful of getting our government's approval on that," he added. 

Little over 6000 active COVID-19 positive cases have been reported in UAE, with the pandemic brought under significantly better control there. 

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

On Sunday (August 2), the IPL governing council is expected to finalise the logistics and SOP for the league's 13th edition. While the government approval is pending, Usmani said the ECB on its part is being prepared. 

"We are still waiting to hear from the BCCI on the Indian government's approval. Having said that, we are ready," Usmani said. "We have plug and play facilities here and have informed them (officials at Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah stadiums) to be ready and they are fully aware of it."

Teams will arrive weeks in advance, considering the need for quality training time before the tournament following an extended break. 

"UAE is blessed with the support of private infrastructure. We are able to deliver such events and have delivered before. Last year, we hosted the T20 World Cup qualifier which had 14 teams," said Usmani, with the league previously also seeing one-third of its matches happening there in 2014 and in turn, boosting the economy in UAE. 

"Last time also, it contributed significantly to the UAE economy. With the full tournament taking place this time, it will be a much bigger boost."

(Inputs from PTI)


By Kashish Chadha - 01 Aug, 2020

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