Safe domestic cricket restart to decide whether IPL returns home

An IPL Governing Council meeting, held virtually on Monday, deferred taking any decision on bringing the T20 league back home. It was decided that a final call on the venue for the next edition of IPL in April-May will depend upon the safe conduct of the upcoming Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy in India.

The T20 tourney marks resumption of domestic cricket in India to be staged between Jan 10-31 at seven bio secure hubs – Bengaluru, Kolkata, Vadodara, Indore, Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmedabad, where knockout matches will be played.

“The priority is to host IPL 14 in India. Hopefully, the Mushtaq Ali trophy goes off successfully, which will give everyone confidence. In case we have to move the tournament out, with the health situation, we know that UAE can stage it,” a BCCI official said.

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BCCI had signed an MoU and hosting agreement with Emirates cricket board (ECB), last year during IPL 13. It was only the third instance that the world’s leading franchise competition had to be taken out of India, when IPL was held in UAE in the middle of the pandemic, last year. The tournament attracted record ratings, but without crowds and home flavor, lacked the usual frenzy.


BCCI had to take a hit commercially too, with title sponsors Vivo dropping out and replaced by Dream 11 at 50 percent discounted price. Dream 11’s Rs222 crore sponsorship stint came to an end on December 31 2020, and the Indian board will soon be scouting for new sponsors.

The BCCI has to decide whether the fantasy gaming company can continue for another edition at a similar prize, or whether new tenders should be floated. “One has to look at the fine print of the Vivo deal, too,” said a BCCI official well versed with developments. Following unfavorable market sentiment, it was announced that the IPL-Vivo deal (2018-22) was being suspended for IPL 2020.

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With BCCI’s plans to have a 10-team IPL from 2022, a decision to have another stop-gap title sponsor for the next edition is on the table. “A final call could be taken by the end of January,” the BCCI official said.

A mini-auction ahead of IPL 14 will be held in February, after franchises release the players they no longer want or trade them off. Brijesh Patel was formally re-appointed as IPL Chairman in the meet.

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