Well placed sources say this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) will be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The franchise owners met earlier this week and they had no qualms in the IPL going overseas this year. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is looking at a September-November window. (More Cricket News)
The good news for IPL is that the T20 Cricket World Cup is going to be cancelled. Although the International Cricket Council (ICC) has not made a formal announcement, a source privy to developments in Australia, says the cancellation is only "a matter of time."
The BCCI has been quietly looking for partners to host the IPL. The tournament brings in almost 4,000 crores of revenue to the Indian cricket board from global broadcasting rights and sponsorship.
The eight franchises each get a 50 per cent share of BCCI's revenue from broadcast right. IPL teams can make a profit of anything between 100-150 crores a season.
UAE has hosted the IPL before. In 2014, a portion of the IPL was held in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi because some 20 matches of the initial phase was clashing with the general elections.
Given Coronavirus protocols, matches in the UAE will be held in front of empty stadiums. "That's not a problem. IPL is more made for TV and the gate receipts will not be as much even if the crowds come in," said a team owner.
The Middle East country suits BCCI as a venue. Stadiums in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi are not far from each other and there is enough infrastructure available to accommodate players, officials and broadcast officials.
IPL teams are expected to arrive in the UAE a month before the tournament starts. "We need a month to prepare but our overseas players will be ready to play," said a team owner.
In September-October, players from England, the West Indies, Australia and New Zealand will come into the IPL having already played competitive cricket. Only the Indians will have to hit the strides.