IPL 2020 is on and all plans are in place and it is happening in the UAE. The Board of Cricket Control of India or the BCCI is just looking for the title sponsor after it had to cancel the deal with the Chinese phone company VIVO. The BCCI has been granted all the requisite approvals from the Central government to conduct this year’s Indian Premier League or IPL 2020. The news was confirmed by the IPL Chairman and former Indian batsman Brijesh Patel on Monday.
On the lookout for a sponsor for the title, Mr Patel said that BCCI is hoping to be able to finalise the deal and then announce the tournament’s new title sponsors by August 18. There is a seven-day window for interested companies to submit the bid.
The IPL 2020 will be held in the UAE from September 19 to November 10 in three cities — Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Rising COVID-19 cases in India
India has now more than 2.5 million cases of COVID-19 and the numbers are rising daily with deaths also rising. But the Modi government caught between a rock and hard place has gone ahead with UNLOCK 3.0 and is partially opening up. Perhaps in consonance with its direction, the government had last week given an “in principle” go-ahead to the BCCI to shift the marquee league to the UAE due to rising cases of Covid-19 in the country.
“Yes, we have received all the written approvals,” Patel said when asked whether the permission has come in writing from both the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs.
“Once we had the verbal okay from the government, we had intimated the Emirates Cricket Board. Now we have the papers also, so franchises can be intimated that everything is in order,” a veteran BCCI official said on conditions of anonymity.
Most of the IPL franchises will be flying out after August 20. Each team and its management and staff will be going through two mandatory RT-PCR (Covid-19 tests) conducted within 24 hours from their departure base.
Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has insisted to have a small camp at the Chepauk and thus the team group will be leaving on August 22.
Search for a title sponsor
Although the BCCI claims there is a lot of interest from the sponsors, the reality is – VIVO was a big deal and having to call it off for the Sino-India border stand-off and its resultant outrage, anyone one coming on board will have to have a lion’s heart. The deal with VIVO, as per reports was worth Rs 440. Among those potential sponsors – Indian company names reported in the media – Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali has been tossed around.
Brijesh Patel, however, has expressed confidence that a lot of companies are interested in becoming IPL’s title sponsor.
“It is not a setback (Vivo pulling out), there is already a lot of interest (for title rights). Whether an Indian company or from anywhere else, whoever bids the most gets the rights. We will finalise the whole process by August 18,” Patel said.