UAE Offers To Host IPL; Match-fixing History Looms
There is no official confirmation from the ICC or Cricket Australia regarding cancellation or postponement of the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled to take place in October in Australia. The consensus is that the T20 World Cup will not take place due to COVID-19; and Australia is not planning to up its borders to international travel anytime soon.
The cancellation of the T20 World Cup automatically opens up a window for the delayed 2020 IPL. The BCCI has made it clear that it will not comment on staging the IPL in October; especially unless ICC and CA offer clarity.
While all three parties prefer to keep silent on the issue, there is a lot of work taking place behind the scenes. The general public therefore assumes that the 2020 IPL will replace the T20 World Cup. There are reports that the ICC will make a decision on the matter on June 10.
UAE Cricket Board Sends In Official Proposal
The BCCI is not certain if and when it will be able to host the 2020 IPL in India as the country is reeling from COVID-19 and the situation is not looking good as India recently entered the top 5 list of the countries with the most number of COVID-19 cases. This means that it is still going to take some time before the Indian government is able to cope with the pandemic and get things under control.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has decided to step in and see if it can help Indian cricket out by submitting an official proposal to host the 2020 IPL in the UAE. There was speculation floating around in May that the BCCI was considering hosting the IPL in the UAE and now we have an official proposal to confirm the rumours.
The UAE has hosted the IPL in the past playing hosts in 2014 and hosting the first part of the IPL as India were holding the parliamentary elections during this period. UAE’s cricket board believes that they can host the entire tournament in 2020 as they have the facilities and infrastructure to pull this off.
The Board has also sent in an official proposal to the England and Wales Cricket Board giving them an option to complete their season in the UAE as well.
Will The BCCI Accept Proposal?
The BCCI has hosted the IPL in the UAE and South Africa in the past. BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has a good relationship with Cricket South Africa and Director Graeme Smith which means if South Africa gets its COVID-19 situation under control, the IPL could have another host venue.
The bigger question for the BCCI is whether they will be willing to go into the UAE given the fact that it has been a hotbed for match fixing and corruption in the past. The IPL’s reputation has already been hurt by match fixing which saw two of its franchises in the Chennai Super Kings (CSL) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) get suspended for two years.
We must point out that this happened while the IPL took place in India but it only shows that the IPL is a big target of match fixers. Hosting a full IPL tournament in the UAE will undoubtedly attract the match fixers and it will be up to the IPL governing body to use all the tools in its arsenal to ensure that all matches and players are protected from succumbing to the evil of match fixing.