IPL in UAE from September 19 pending government clearances, BCCI says

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The shadow of a man falls on a backdrop with the logo of the India's cricket board BCCI before the start of a news conference to announce its cricket team's coach, in Mumbai,

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - This year's Indian Premier League (IPL) will take place, subject to government clearances, between Sept. 19 to Nov. 10 in three "bio-secure" venues in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Indian cricket board (BCCI) said on Sunday.

The Twenty20 league was originally scheduled to begin in late March but had to be put off because of the COVID-19 crisis, leaving the BCCI staring at a potential $534 million (408.3 million pounds) loss in revenue.

The postponement of this year's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia because of the pandemic, however, threw a lifeline to the Twenty20 league boasting most of the big names in contemporary cricket.

There, however, were no realistic chances of hosting it this year in India, currently the third worst affected country in the world with nearly 1.7 million confirmed cases and 36,500 deaths.

"...the IPL GC decided to stage the tournament in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the matches will be played in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi subject to necessary clearances from the Government of India," BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement after the league's Governing Council meeting.

The board also discussed standard operating procedures, he said, "including the agencies to execute and deliver a bio-secure environment for safe and successful conduct of IPL 2020 season."

Cricket boards in the UAE and Sri Lanka had offered to host the popular eight-team league.

The 2009 edition of the franchise-based competition coincided with India's elections and was held in South Africa.

The UAE hosted the early matches of the tournament five years later for the same reason.

During the playoff week of the 53-day tournament, the IPL governing council decided on Sunday, the Women's T20 Challenge will take place in UAE featuring four matches among three teams.

"A meeting with the franchises will be called shortly," Shah added.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Christian Radnedge)