WE TOLD YOU SO. The Emirates Cricket Board secretary Mubashshir Usmani said Friday that the ECB is eager to fill up 30-50 per cent of the stadiums with spectators when the Indian Premier League is held in the UAE, provided the Emirati authorities approve.
For the record, Usmani's comments confirm a report first put out in the Indian media by SportzPower - that the IPL would NOT to be held behind closed doors.
To recap what had been reported by SportzPower on July 18: UAE safety guidelines will be STRICTLY followed with fans having to wear masks and maintain social distance in-stadia. Stadiums will be fully sanitised and will likely have occupancy at 50 per cent capacity or less, is what this website has been told.
What needs noting is that all of this IS possible in the UAE and it is this that will also ensure that no international player will have any qualms about being a part of the world's biggest and richest annual cricket extravaganza.
Coming back to Usmani's comments. The ECB secretary told PTI: “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,.
“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 30 to 50 per cent capacity, we are looking at a similar number.
“We are hopeful of getting our government’s approval on that,” he added.
The UAE has a little over 6,000 active cases of COVID-19 and the overall situation around the pandemic is under control, the newswire further reports.
Usmani allayed concerns over the safety of the IPL, telling PTI: “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.” The IPL Governing Council will meet on Sunday to finalise the logistics and SOP for the world’s biggest T20 league.
Usmani said the UAE is ready to host the event and is only awaiting the Indian government’s approval. “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.”
The UAE had partially hosted the IPL in 2014 due to the general elections in India.
“Last time also, it contributed significantly to the UAE economy. With the full tournament taking place this time, it will be a much bigger boost,” added Usmani.