IPL 2020: safety protocol, schedule top governing council agenda

Concerns of franchise owners to be addressed

The much-anticipated governing council (GC) meeting of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will go ahead as planned on Sunday evening, but is unlikely to be followed by a formal announcement of the fixtures and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the league’s rescheduled 13th edition.

Ever since IPL GC chairman Brijesh Patel confirmed the shift to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the start date (September 19), pending government clearance, fans and franchises have been eagerly awaiting information on the conduct of the tournament, deferred because of the pandemic.

The BCCI was hoping to secure the government go-ahead before Sunday’s meeting, but the nod hadn’t arrived at the time of writing. This may force the GC to decide on an array of issues, but not circulate it officially to the eight franchises.

Logistics challenges

The franchises, during their informal interactions with IPL executives and event management partners, have spelt out their primary areas of concern. These include the logistics of bio-secure bubbles, travel plans, availability of overseas cricketers and the player-replacement policy.

The Hindu understands that IPL executives, in consultation with the BCCI medical team, have been paying minute attention to detail while finalising the SOPs. It will be interesting to see whether the GC can satisfy the demands of the teams, cricketers, officials and broadcasters.

Despite the Dubai Council having earlier announced a self-quarantine period only until the return of the COVID-19 test result, less than 48 hours after landing in Dubai, the UAE government has revised the guidelines to a week-long quarantine upon arrival.

This means that players who are set to arrive in the UAE after participating in the England-Australia T20 series (concludes on September 15), the Caribbean Premier League (September 10) and the Lanka Premier League (September 20) will likely miss the start of the tournament.

The franchises are also hoping for clarity on the player-replacement policy during this edition. “If a replacement has to be sought due to COVID-19 or an injury during the tournament and the replacement has to serve a week-long quarantine during the tournament, it will be unfair on the team. Hopefully the BCCI-IPL finds a way out,” said a franchise official on condition of anonymity.

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