New Delhi: An ‘in principle’ government approval has come for the BCCI to take the IPL to the UAE this year. The eight franchises have also started their preparations. They have started initiating quarantine and COVID-19 testing protocols for their players and support staff. A BCCI source told this agency that the government approval in writing is due to come any time in the next few days. “We have got the approval in principle to go ahead. The papers will be landing anytime,” a top source said Friday.
Plans of different franchises
Most of the franchises will be leaving base after August 20 as mandated by the BCCI. The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are set to leave August 22. The Mumbai Indians (MI), on the other hand, have quarantined its Indian players at its base. Some franchises are arranging COVID-19 tests for their players in their respective cities. The franchises are Delhi Daredevils (DD), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), CSK and MI. They will then depart for the UAE.
Also read: IPL 2020: Government clears staging of IPL in UAE from September 19 To November 10
“It’s always good if they have a PCR-Test done and land with a negative report. Then they can have two tests done 24 hours apart as the BCCI SOP mentions. Then we fly to the UAE,” a senior franchise official said on conditions of anonymity. “While two tests are mandatory, most franchises will have at least four tests done before leaving India,” he added.
Players not keen to take families
The players and support staff have been allowed to take their families. However, there is the condition that all of them remain in the bio-bubble. However, players across teams are not too keen to do that due to the strict quarantine protocols.
“I have a five-year-old and I can’t risk travelling with my family in this situation. Health safety is paramount for them,” a senior player of a franchise said.
As far as accommodation is concerned, one franchise is aiming to book a resort. Another might rent out a sprawling property in Abu Dhabi with every staff, from security to chef, hired by them. There is another franchise which is booking a hotel in Abu Dhabi. The franchise considers it the team’s lucky base from the 2014 edition.
While the squad strength, in terms of players, is restricted to 24, the BCCI has not put a cap on support staff. A couple of franchises will be taking up to 60 people, including full-fledged medical teams. The medical team will do daily health check-ups of the players.
“The BCCI has said every fifth day testing in UAE but if franchises want, they can ramp up the rate. As we have said earlier, any upgrade on the SOP is welcome. However, there is very less chance of the quarantine period getting reduced (from the mandatory six days),” a senior BCCI official said.