Earlier this month the IPL governing council announced that the tournament, which was initially set to be held during the month of March, will now be held in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah from September 19 to November 10, 2020.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has shared a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) document stating all the health and safety protocols which need to be followed without fail by all eight Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises taking part in the tournament.
“There will be three tests: on the day of the arrival, on the third and the sixth day. Once you get the third negative result, only then an individual will be allowed to enter the bubble,” said an IPL insider. “After that, everyone in the bubble will be tested every fifth day until the tournament is over.”
- All the players and the staff members will have to undergo two COVID-19 PCR tests, 24 hours apart, a week before meeting with other team members of the franchise, thus reducing the chance of cross-infection within the group.
- If someone is tested positive for the test, they are required to be quarantined for 14-days and undergo proper medical analysis. Post the completion of the quarantine period, that person has to again take the COVID-19 PCR test twice, 24 hours apart, and only if both the tests are negative, the individual is allowed to fly to the tournament.
- The players and the staff members are free to take their family to the tournament only after ensuring that all health and safety protocols are met.
- The families won’t be allowed to enter the Players and Match Officials Area (PMOA) and field of play during training and matches.
- After arriving in the UAE, all the players and staff have to undergo 3 more tests which will be conducted on days 1, 3 and 6 of arrival. Only after testing negative in all 3 tests, the players and the supporting staff will set foot inside the Biosecure bubble.
- No player or staff will be permitted to leave the Biosecure bubble during the duration of the entire tournament.
Read More: How Football & Cricket Is Slowly Getting Back On Field Post COVID-19 Lockdown
The Bio-secure Bubble
- The BCCI has directed each franchise to create its own Bio-secure bubble where a limited number of people will be allowed. Another bubble will be made for BCCI and the International Management Group staff, broadcasters etc.
- Face masks and social-distancing protocols must be adhered to even inside the Bio-secure bubble.
Accommodation of the players and staff
- Every franchise will have its own separate hotel.
- The players have been advised to not socialise pre and post-training sessions.
- In common areas, all doors and windows are to be kept open at all times to avoid touching doorknobs and handles.
- It is advised to restrict the use of air-conditioners. But if needed, it would have to be operated between “24-30 degree centigrade with humidity level maintained between 40-70%”, according to the protocols.
- Families won’t be allowed to travel in the team bus with the players during the entire tournament.
- Virtual meetings are recommended.
- If by any chance the meeting is to be done in person, it is advised to be held outdoors where social distancing protocols could be followed.
Training and dressing room protocols
- The team members are advised to avoid “handshakes, high-fives, tackling, sparring etc” while training.
- Instead of changing in the dressing room, the players are recommended to dress for training in the hotel room itself.
- A “2m social distancing at all times and all places” should be maintained even during practice.
- The equipment will be given to players only by the ground staff, who will wear “adequate protective equipment like masks and gloves”.
- Scalene Hypercharge Corona Canon (Shycocan), a device that can neutralise 99.9% of the coronavirus floating in the air in closed spaces, will be installed.
- The players won’t be allowed to use saliva on the ball.
- Towels, sunscreens, caps, clothes, water bottles and even masks should be tagged to prevent accidental sharing.
Audience in the stadium
This is yet to be decided but most probably the Emirates Cricket Board is considering filling the stands by up to 30-50 per cent.
But, the news of the tournament happening has instilled a sense of excitement in everyone.
Shreyas Iyer, captain, Delhi Capitals, said: “In the challenging times that our world is going through, there’s no doubt that the news of the IPL happening is one of the best things we’ve all heard in a long time.”
In another remarkable decision, the IPL Governing Council has approved the Women’s IPL 2020, which will also reportedly take place in UAE. More information is yet to be released by BCCI.
Image Sources: IPLT20
Sources: India Today, The Indian Express, Inside Sport
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