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After UAE and Sri Lanka, this country offers to host IPL 2020

DNA logo DNA 06-07-2020 (DNA Web Desk)
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The Indian Premier League (IPL) which was to be held from March 29, 2020, has been postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Since then countries like the UAE and Sri Lanka have offered to host the cash-rich tournament.

Now, New Zealand has also joined the bandwagon and said they would like to host the event in case the billion-dollar league can't be held in India due to rising cases of coronavirus.

The event could possibly take place if the T20 World Cup, which is to be held in October-November, is postponed. The BCCI has already zeroed in on the end September-early November window for the IPL.

The board's first choice is staging the tournament at home but with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in India, chances look bleak.

"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 told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

"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 said.

This won't be the first time the IPL will be held overseas. The entire 2009 edition was staged in South Africa due to the general election back home. In 2014, the IPL was partially held in the UAE due to the same reason.

However in 2019, despite elections, BCCI managed to schedule the IPL avoiding clashing with poll dates in various states.

The UAE again is the front-runner to host the tournament. Sri Lanka is a cost-effective option while New Zealand, which 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 and even if the tournament is to start at 12:30 PM in the afternoon, maximum office-goers (even those who work from home) will miss the action.

Apart from Hamilton to Auckland, which can be covered by road, places like Wellington, Christchurch, Napier, or Dunedin will require air travel.

The officials also added that 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.

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