IPL 13: BCCI Set To Sail Through Complications

Mumbai: Former cricketer Sourav Ganguly during a programme organsied to launch video streaming platform Flickstree in Mumbai, on July 11, 2017. (Photo: IANS) by .
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly (Photo: IANS)

The Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises had a meeting via teleconference on Wednesday and the major issues discussed was player replacement, logistics and concerns over a title sponsor going into the 13th edition of the cash-rich league in the UAE.

Speaking about the new moves, an official of one of the franchises in the know of developments said that there was quite a bit of discussion on the issue of player replacement.

“In fact, there were interesting views that were put on the table and it was all related to the COVID-19 effect. Player replacement could actually play an important role this edition due to the virus and we were looking at the broader picture and what could be the necessary areas that we need to cover beforehand so that nobody is caught on the backfoot during the tournament,” the official explained.

Another area that dominated the meeting was the point with regards to VIVO being replaced as the title sponsor. “We are 45 days away from the IPL and at this point in time obviously it will be an area of focus as we need a new sponsor. A lot of areas need to be understood when it comes to the revenue side of things and at the end of the day it is one family. It is not like IPL franchises and BCCI are on different paths.”

“We all want a successful IPL. With a new sponsor coming in, it will also be needed to see what is it that the sponsor is offering and if that comes close enough to the money that was being pumped in by Vivo. So, things like these must be kept it mind while also making no bones about the fact that the emotions of the fans and people of India is the priority,” the official said.

An official of another franchise said that talks also revolved around the expenditure part wherein teams were discussing the logistics and how they are planning their stay and travel in UAE. “We are now in the business end if you call it that when it comes to finalising everything with regards to IPL in the UAE. So, we also had a chat on the logistical part of things and how each of us are going about it. We also have the SOP prepared by the board so we were having a chat on integrating our roadmap with the directives in the SOP,” the official pointed.

Following the official confirmation regarding Vivo’s exit as title sponsors for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League, the BCCI will now invite bids through a tender process for IPL 2020 in the next few days.

Sources in the know of developments said that the BCCI will follow due diligence and transparency while recruiting a new title sponsor for IPL 13.

“BCCI will come out with the ITB soon. Tender process will be followed as the board believes in transparency,” the source said.

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Under the Invitation to Bid (ITB), the winning bidder will be granted title sponsorship rights for this year’s IPL season set to be played in the UAE from September 19 to November 10.

Earlier on Thursday, BCCI decided to officially announce the suspension of the partnership with title sponsors Vivo.

The move comes after the Chinese smartphone manufacturer had pulled out as the title sponsor of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for this year’s edition, following backlash on social media. VIVO had paid Rs 2,199 crore for a five-year contract in 2018. The BCCI on Sunday had announced that all sponsors were being retained, but VIVO pulled out following criticisms.

The government has already banned 59 Chinese mobile apps and placed stringent restrictions on Chinese investments.

All this development took place in the backdrop of tensions between the two countries along the LAC in Ladakh where a scuffle between the two armies resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers in June.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises were also handed over with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). Social distancing will play a key factor when it comes to the 13th edition of the cash-rich league.

Not only will the entire medical history of players and support staff will be checked since March 1, but also teams have been asked to avoid any community activity like group dinners.

In the SOP, the teams have been asked to ensure that under no circumstances should any person break the bio-bubble once they are in UAE. But it starts with undergoing two COVID-19 tests.

All Indian players and team support staff must undergo two COVID-19 tests before assembling and heading to UAE. Any player or support staff who breaches the bio-bubble protocols after reaching their respective venues in UAE will be punished. In the UAE, there will be tests conducted on Day 1, 3 and 6. After that there will be testing done on every fifth day right through the tournament.

It was earlier reported that the teams were looking at flying in chartered planes and had already zeroed in on hotels for stay and the SOP also states that teams should look at flying in chartered planes and booking separate hotels.

As for families, it has been made clear that the families cannot get out of the bio-bubble created by the franchise. Also, they cannot travel with the players and be seen in the dressing rooms.

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