The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is welcoming the prospect of hosting the Indian Premier League (IPL) amid reports of the tournament being shifted to an overseas location for the 2020 edition.

There have growing murmurs in the Indian media that the IPL is likely to be held in the UAE towards the end of September in the wake of the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the subcontinent. The reports have stated that the likely cancellation of the 2020 T20I World Cup in Australia will pave the way for the BCCI to hold the 13th edition of the IPL in the UAE behind closed doors.

On Sunday, ECB General Secretary Mubashshir Usmani revealed that the board conveyed its interest in hosting the IPL to the BCCI. Usmani made the revelation on the sidelines of ECB announcing a new domestic T10 league.

“We had sent a formal invitation to the BCCI in April to host the IPL in the UAE, in the event that the tournament is held overseas,” he said.

“However, we have not received any official confirmation from the BCCI yet on this matter,” he added.

The ECB official maintained that the UAE remains a viable destination for the 2020 IPL and is confident that the organisation can successfully host the cash-rich franchise league.

“As I said earlier, there has been no official indication from the BCCI on the IPL so far. If we go by the media reports according to you, the BCCI is looking to host the IPL from the end of September to November,” he stated.

“If they do decide to choose the UAE as the destination, a formal plan will have to be created. We would have to follow all the protocols laid out by the government.

“The various councils would then be approached for all the required permissions. As you can see, the UAE has done well in controlling the COVID-19 situation.

“The number of cases are decreasing every day and I can say that the UAE will be one of the safest places for the IPL to be held.”

The UAE has previously hosted a part of the IPL in 2014 when the tournament had to be held overseas owing to the general elections in India.

Most recently, Abu Dhabi has successfully played host to the UFC (Ultimate Fight Championship) 251.

The IPL was initially meant to be held towards the end of March this year, but has been in limbo due to the pandemic. With the T20I World Cup in Australia looking likely to be called off this year, a window might open for the franchise tournament to be held in September.

BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly had previously warned that a possible cancellation of the IPL would bear huge financial consequences for the stakeholders involved. Sri Lanka and New Zealand have been mentioned as other alternative destinations for the 2020 edition of the tournament.

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