The BCCI has received official permission from the Government of India to conduct IPL 2020 in the UAE, tournament chairman Brijesh Patel confirmed to Cricbuzz. The franchises, who had been waiting for the official government go-ahead until Monday morning, will shortly meet with the BCCI office bearers where the board will discuss the Standard Operating Procedures as well as address any concerns franchises have before jetting off to UAE around August 21.
The green-lighting from the various wings of the central government – including the Ministry of Home and External Affairs – is a shot in the arm for the board, which is faced with several logistical and administrative hurdles to move the tournament out of India amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.
Among BCCI’s 11th hour concerns is finding a replacement title sponsor after Vivo invoked the Force Majeure clause in their contract to withdraw from this season. Patel confirmed that the board had floated an Expression of Interest (EOI) and expressed optimism of finding a suitable replacement sponsor for this season.
It remains to be seen, however, if the new sponsor or a consortium of sponsors can match Vivo’s valuation of INR 440 crores per season. Fifty percent of this winning-bid value will be split eight ways among the franchises as per the revised revenue sharing agreement.
“There is a lot of interest (in acquiring the IPL title rights) already, so let’s see what we get,” Patel told Cricbuzz.
Franchises expediting planning
The government’s go-ahead has expedited the teams’ decision making with regards to logistics. When contacted, franchises confirmed to Cricbuzz that they had already set in motion processes to secure UAE visas for their players and were finalising accommodation details – in line with the draft SOP – in the UAE as well. Chennai Super Kings confirmed they were planning to assemble their Indian players in Chennai, preferably conduct a short training camp, and charter them to UAE on August 21 or 22 with the foreign players and staff joining them in the bio-secure bubble in Dubai.
Teams, however, are eagerly awaiting communication from the BCCI about the new title sponsor – details of which will be available post August 14. This, they reckon, will not only help with their financial planning in this pandemic-stricken climate, but also aid in checking off other minor tasks, including the printing of team jerseys with the appropriate logo.
Another franchise official confirmed that they are waiting to meet with the board to discuss certain pointers from the Standard Operating Procedures as well as understand in-stadia advertising opportunities in the three stadiums at Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi to help teams with their own commercial deliverables with their personal sponsors.