New Delhi: New Zealand is the latest country after UAE and Sri Lanka which has offered to host the IPL. It has agreed to host the IPL in case the billion dollar league can’t be held in India due to coronavirus. The postponement announcement of the T20 World Cup, to be held in October-November in Australia, is imminent. So a window to host the IPL will be created.
The BCCI has already zeroed in on the end September-early November window for the IPL. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has said that IPL must move ahead irrespective of coronavirus.
India 1st choice to host IPL
The board’s first choice is staging the tournament at home. However, that is looking increasingly unlikely with India having the third largest case load of coronavirus cases.
“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 said. “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 added.
IPL editions played abroad
The IPL has been held overseas in the past. The entire 2009 edition was staged in South Africa due to the general election back homes. It was partially played in the UAE in 2014 due to the same reason. However in 2019, despite elections, BCCI managed to schedule the IPL in India. It avoided clashing with poll dates in various states.
Options in other countries
The UAE again is the front-runner to host the tournament if it happens overseas while Sri Lanka is a cost-effective option.
New Zealand has been largely free from COVID-19, but practical feasibility is an issue. With New Zealand, India has a seven and half hour time difference. Even if matches start at 12.30pm in the afternoon, maximum office-goers will miss the action.
Apart from Hamilton to Auckland, which can be covered by road, places like Wellington, Christchurch and Napier will require air travel.
Chinese sponsorship issue
The official added the date of the IPL governing council meeting will be announced soon. Issues pertaining to the league, including the Chinese sponsorship deals in the IPL, will be discussed.
The BCCI had called for an IPL GC meet more than two weeks back following the India-China clash at the Galwan Valley. However, the date is yet to be announced. Anti-China sentiment has been on the rise in India ever since the ‘violent’ face-off between the two Asian giants.
The board has a lucrative five-deal deal in place for IPL title rights with Chinese mobile phone maker ‘Vivo’. The deal will fetch the BCCI Rs 440 crore annually till 2022. Indian companies with Chinese investments like ‘Paytm’ are also involved in the IPL.