Emirates Cricket Board offers to host the 13th season of IPL in UAE

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The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has offered to host the 13th season of Indian Premier League (IPL) in UAE.

The proposal came after Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) expressed interest in hosting India’s cash-rich league.

Notably, India had staged the first half of IPL 2014 in UAE as then the dates clashed with general elections.

No question of taking the call: Arun Dhumal

“The UAE has offered to host the IPL if we want them to. But right now when there is no international travel, there is no question of taking a call on that,” said BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal.

As per some sources, BCCI may look for a window later in the year to stage the tournament.

Nonetheless, Dhumal has put an end to speculations regarding the IPL.

“The health and security of players and all participants is our priority. At the moment, the entire world travel has come to a standstill, so there is nothing we can decide at this stage,” Dhumal added.

Taking the IPL abroad is a contingency that has been discussed with franchises over informal channels. Even if the IPL is staged in India, closed-door matches look like the best bet. Franchises, in any case, stand to lose out on revenue from gate receipts. Similarly, with social distancing guidelines expected to stay regardless of the venue, maximum leverage for sponsors (like player meet-and-greets) is unlikely. Sri Lanka and UAE being geographically close, TV timings would be a non-issue.

Even an IPL just for TV will protect the broadcast and title rights deals of the BCCI. A regular IPL would have helped BCCI earn around Rs 2500 crore. With player salaries tipping Rs 600 crore, franchises too were expected to make profits of over Rs 150 crore each. With such healthy returns guaranteed, cricket boards volunteering to host the IPL is unsurprising. When the IPL was shifted to South Africa, Cricket South Africa (CSA) made a turnover of $11.4 million. The UAE Board charged much less from the BCCI for staging the IPL, but it lifted its profile and helped Dubai become a regular international destination.

On April 15, the BCCI officially announced the suspension of the 2020 IPL edition ‘indefinitely’ in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

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