Did BCCI Make an Error in Including Abu Dhabi as a Venue for IPL?

Could the IPL’s delay in announcement of the schedule have to do with Abu Dhabi’s extensive testing guidelines?

Updated
IPL
2 min read

Less than 20 days to go for the much delayed 2020 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), but, even now, the controversies surrounding the league are far from over.

First scheduled to be played from March to May, the league was suspended due to the coronavirus lockdowns and now, the BCCI has been forced to move the tournament to the UAE due to the growing number of cases in India.

There was a problem with the title sponsor, a delay in getting government clearance to move to the UAE and now that all teams have arrived in their home bases of Dubai or Abu Dhabi, a new set of problems has risen.

As many as 13 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in the tests carried out by the IPL authorities in the last week, with most of the cases reportedly coming out of the Chennai Super Kings’ camp.

Less than 24 hours after the news went public, CSK issued a statement saying Suresh Raina has pulled out of the entire season and returned home to India, citing personal reasons.

All this, even as the schedule of a tournament slated to start on 19 September is yet to be announced.

IPL’s Abu Dhabi Problem

It seems the BCCI has been in a quandary trying to figure out how to hold matches in Abu Dhabi, one of the venues along with Dubai and Sharjah.

It failed to anticipate the confusion over stringent rules for entry into the capital city.

Since May, when Abu Dhabi shut its borders with Dubai, there have been reports of traffic jams for those trying to gain entry. You can only enter the Emirate after doing a COVID-19 test but that is also not enough anymore.

Since 27 August, with the cases rising in the country again, the norms have been tightened even further. The PCR test with a validity of six days has to be supplemented with an additional compulsory but less invasive DPI or the laser test at the border.

The DPI test, which shows the early presence of a virus in the body, gives the result within minutes and is used for those aged 12 and above. Most reports say that there is a waiting period of 10 days to two weeks for this test.

Until Thursday, just the rapid testing DPI test was enough to gain entry. The new measures also allow entry with a negative result but only with a 48-hour validity. There is yet another caveat, the same test cannot be repeated twice in a row within a six-day period.

The other thing BCCI learnt only after the teams arrived in the UAE is that the quarantine period in Abu Dhabi and Dubai is not similar. While Dubai allows isolation for only seven days, visitors in the UAE have a strict two-week quarantine – although KKR and MI have got special permission to go around the strict rule and start training after being in their hotel rooms for just a week.

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