The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League is in all probability headed to foreign shores with UAE and Sri Lanka in the race to host the 2020 edition of the cash-rich league. The final announcement is expected soon as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still awaiting an official decision on the fate of the T20 World Cup which was to be held in Australia in October-November.
Speaking to IANS, a BCCI official in the know of developments said that while the idea was to play the league in the country, the situation with regards to the coronavirus pandemic might force the board to ultimately take the tournament to either UAE or Sri Lanka.
"We are yet to decide on the venue but in all probability it is going outside this year. The condition in India doesn't look suited to have so many teams come in at one or two venues and then create an atmosphere which will be safe for the players as well as the general public even though the games may be played behind closed doors.
"The race is between UAE and Sri Lanka and we will need to decide on where we host the league depending on the situation there with regards to the coronavirus pandemic. Logistics also need to be looked into, so we will decide soon," the official said.
While the mood was initially in favour of hosting the league in the country, the current situation has almost made it certain that the tournament will have to be taken outside India.
IANS had earlier reported that the decision-makers in the BCCI were divided in 3:2 ratio with regards to deciding on the venue of the league. "See, it is a case of the decision makers being divided 3-2 if that is how you wish to understand the current scenario.
"There are a couple of voices who feel that having the tournament should be the priority and if that means taking it out of the country, so be it. So, while we are working on the overall plan, the venue is an area which will need further deliberation. Also, at the end of the day safety of the players and everyone involved is priority," the official had explained.
IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel has also been vocal that location shouldn't be a concern if the league is being played behind closed doors. "They (Emirates Cricket Board and Sri Lanka Cricket) have informed us that they are prepared to host the IPL. But our first preference is India, if we get the government's permission.
"It is certain that we cannot play at more than three or four venues in India, but the permissions will depend on how the COVID-19 outbreak pans out. Otherwise we will have to explore playing overseas, which will be the last option. Once you are playing without spectators, it doesn't really matter where you are playing as long as it suits television timings," Patel had told The Hindu.