TOI has learnt that the Board is looking at organizing the T20 league across three venues in Mumbai – the Wankhede Stadium, Brabourne Stadium, the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai (also a venue for the 2022 AFC’s Women’s Asian Cup in Jan-Feb), and the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Gahunje, near Pune.
“On January 5, Hemang Amin (BCCI’s interim CEO and the Chief Operating Officer of the IPL) approached Vijay Patil (Mumbai Cricket Association president) in this regard, on the sidelines of the MCA’s Apex Council meeting. Subsequently, a few days later, Amin and Patil met Sharad Pawar at the NCP supremo’s residence. Pawar has given his green signal to the BCCI’s proposal. During this week or in the next 10 days, he, the BCCI and MCA officials will meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and state chief secretary Debashish Chakrabarty to arrange for the necessary permission in this regard. There should be no problem on this front, as the tournament will be played in a strict bio bubble with no crowds, and the players and officials will be tested frequently,” reliable sources informed TOI.
The source clarified that even though Maharashtra (40, 925 new cases on Saturday) and Mumbai (20, 971 fresh cases) were in the grip of a surge in Covid cases, the state government, in its latest order on Covid restrictions on Saturday, had allowed for sporting events if a few rules were followed strictly.
As per the latest order of the Maharashtra government, “sporting competitive events are to be deferred, except for National and international level competitions already scheduled, with the following: 1: No crowd, 2: Bio-bubble for all the players and officials. 3: GOI rules shall be applicable for all participating international and domestic players. 4: RT-PCR/RAT every third day for all the players and officials.”
It is due to this reason that the state government has allowed the conduct of 2022 AFC Women’s Asia Cup in Maharashtra.
Normally the IPL is staged on a home and away format, but the tremendous surge in Covid cases in India- 1,41,986 fresh Covid-19 cases were recorded in the country on Saturday – has forced the BCCI to prune the number of centres from 10 to four. It was this increasing Covid number which forced the BCCI to postpone all domestic tournaments on January 5.
Restricting the whole league to just three stadiums in Mumbai and one venue in nearby Pune will help the BCCI eliminate air travel during the tournament, something which was cited as one of the major reasons for Covid cases in the bio-bubble last year.
“As of now, the plan is to stage the IPL in India. If, however, the Maharashtra option too is ruled out in the future, then the BCCI might be forced to take the IPL to the UAE again,” revealed a source.
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