Slow and steady: UAE cricket board aiming to fill 30-50% of the stadiums during IPL

Image Courtesy: Al Bawaba/The National

The Emirates Cricket Board wants to fill up 30-50 per cent of the stadiums with spectators when the 13th edition of Indian Premier League will take place in the UAE with the government approves, secretary Mubashshir Usmani informed PTI on Friday. Last week, the chairman Brijesh Patel had told PTI that the decision about the spectators during the September 19-November 8 IPL will be taken by the UAE government only.

Image Courtesy: Al Bawaba/The National

“Once we get the confirmation from the BCCI (on Indian government’s approval), we will go to our government with the complete proposal and SOPs which will be prepared by us and the BCCI,” told Usmani over the phone.

“We will definitely want our people to experience this prestigious event but it is totally the government’s decision. For most events here, the number ranges from thirty to 50 percent capacity, we are looking at a similar number. We are hopeful of getting our government’s approval on that,” he added.

The UAE has reported over 6000 positive cases of COVID-19 and the overall situation around the pandemic is under control in the UAE.

“The UAE government has been very efficient in bringing down the case numbers. We are almost living a normal life with certain rules and protocols to be followed. And with the IPL still some time way, we will be in an even better place than what it is right now,” he again said.

To decide the plans, logistics and SOP, the IPL Governing Council will meet on Sunday.

“We are still waiting to hear from the BCCI on the Indian government’s approval. Having said that, we are ready,” Usmani said. “We have plug and play facilities here and have informed them (officials at Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah stadiums) to be ready and they are fully aware of it.”

Teams will reach in the UAE before three-four weeks for their training as the players didn’t get time to prepare enough for the league.

While he was asked if managing all players together will be a challenge, Usmani said: “UAE is blessed with the support of private infrastructure. We are able to deliver such events and have delivered before. Last year, we hosted the T20 World Cup qualifier which had 14 teams.”

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