IPL franchises await answers as Governing Council set for marathon meet

MUMBAI: From putting a list of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place to identifying an isolation centre in the UAE, planning a series of flights from India to booking close to 60,000 room nights and from preparing the strictest rules for violation of a bio-secure bubble to coordinating between close to 1200 individuals – the IPL Governing Council has been busy drafting a checklist like never before.
The members of the governing council will meet on Sunday afternoon. Long due already, and with franchises and other stakeholders waiting to hear more, the meeting can be expected to turn into a marathon as BCCI president Sourav Ganguly joins the GC members in capacity of a special invitee.
The protocol that’ll be adopted is likely to be outlined in phases. The first phase will be when IPL and BCCI officials, including those representing the IMG, will land in the UAE before everyone else as part of the synchronisation with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and the Dubai Sports Council that has already begun.
Phase 2 will begin with the franchises and players fly to the UAE, go under quarantine for a week, two Covid tests get administered between 48 hours and isolation is observed in the strictest terms. Family members of cricketers will be allowed to fly too and it’ll be a decision left to the franchises as long as the bubble does not get violated.
The end of quarantine will then make way for practice to begin for broadcasters and central sponsors to arrive in UAE and the final phase – the tournament itself – to get underway.
The GC meeting will also involve discussions on any possible renegotiations with the central sponsorship pool in the wake of a restricted IPL at a different destination. “You can expect the BCCI not to give an inch,” say those in the know.
As reported by TOI, evening matches will begin at 7.30 pm IST and the final will be played on November 10. As far as allowing spectators into stadiums in UAE is concerned, the BCCI is strictly against the idea and the franchises have agreed to bear with the loss in gate-money, thankful that the tournament is taking place.

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