Premier Badminton League Gets Postponed To 2021 Due TO COVID-19 Concerns
The Premier Badminton League (PBL) is modeled on a similar format as the Indian Premier League (IPL) and takes place every year. The PBL is right up there with the richest badminton tournaments in the world and sees all of the best badminton players in the world come to India and showcase their skills.
The PBL took place from 20 Jan to 09 Feb 2020 and was a grand success. SportzLive is the current license holder of the PBL and was scheduled to host the 6th edition of the PBL in December 2020 after getting permission from the Badminton Association of India (BAI).
PBL Sixth Edition Postponed To 2021
BAI and SportzLive made plans to host the PBL towards the end of December in three cities. Pune, Delhi and Mumbai were set to play host to the PBL. This global badminton league has a total of 6 PBL franchises taking part that play games both in India and around the world as part of the league’s format.
Top badminton players from around the world were expected to fly into India in late December and play in the PBL. However, SportzLive and BAI decided to cancel the tournament for 2020 and move it to 2021 due to the ongoing concerns of COVID-19.
India is second on the list after the United States when it comes to countries which have the most number of COVID-19 cases.
India has struggled to control the spread of the coronavirus and most sports in India are suspended or being played in a very restrictive bubble like the Indian Super League (ISL).
The organizers have not confirmed the exact dates for PBL 2021 as of now. They will play it by ear as they continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in India and see how things improve in the coming weeks.
PBL 2021 Will Prepare Players For Olympics
The plan is to host the 6th edition of the PBL in the first quarter of 2021. The PBL can be used as a platform for the top badminton players to test their skills against the best and prepare for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
BAI remains positive that the COVID-19 situation will improve in India and that the government will relax restrictions on international travel in early 2021 and make it possible for players to travel to India and not have to go through a lengthy quarantine process.
SportzLive MD Prasad Mangipudi said that he is looking to schedule the PBL between the Olympic Qualifiers and the last qualifying tournament for the Olympics. This will allow a number of players who are preparing for the Olympics to play in the PBL.
Mangipudi said he is hopeful that a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready early next year and make it safe for players and fans to participate and watch the PBL.
Packed Badminton Schedule In Jan
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has been forced to cancel a number of top tournaments around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The BWF has so far postponed a number of events to Jan 2021 and as a result, badminton player have a packed schedule in Jan 2021.
Some of the events that are scheduled for Jan include the Asia Open 1 which takes place from Jan 12 to 17; followed by the Asian Open II which is set for Jan 19 to 14. The final BWF event in Jan is the BWF World Tour Finals which is scheduled to take place from Jan 27 to 31.
Whether the BWF will be able to host all three tournaments in Jan or postpone some of them is hard to tell as of now. The BWF will wait till mid-December before making a decision on the same.