'In empty stadiums, hardly matters if IPL is held in India or abroad'
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has zeroed in on the September-October window for the Indian Premier League subject to the postponement of Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup, league chairman Brijesh Patel said on Thursday, hinting that the event can be held overseas as games in empty stadiums make the location irrelevant.
"We are looking at the September-October window but that is subject to the postponement of the Asia Cup and T20 World Cup. We we will also have to follow the government guidelines at that time," Patel said.
The Asia Cup is scheduled in September and T20 World Cup in October-November. The fate of both the events is not decided yet with the ICC likely to take a call on the World Cup in Australia next month.
Considering the rising cases in India, there is an option to organise the league overseas. The UAE and Sri Lanka have already shown interest in hosting the world's biggest T20 league.
"First preference is India of course but a lot will depend on the situation at that time. Sri Lanka has offered to host it and so has UAE, we will see where we can play. If you are playing without crowds, it doesn't matter where you play," said Patel.
The 2009 edition was held in South Africa due to the general elections back home and because of the same reason, the tournament was held partially in the UAE in 2014.
The BCCI stands to lose Rs 4000 crore if the IPL doesn't take place. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has also said that the board is exploring all options to stage the IPL. Even Ganguly has spoken about having the tournament in front of empty stands in his latest communication to Board affiliates.
Asked if the plan is to have a shorter IPL, Patel said: "We want normal duration for the tournament but again it depends on which tournament (Asia Cup or World Cup) is postponed. IPL is an important tournament for the board, sponsors, broadcasters and the players. Everyone wants it to happen. I am sure the players are itching to take the field."
Patel said the sooner the ICC decides on the T20 World Cup, the better it would be for all the stakeholders. He also said the IPL can be held without fans but not the World Cup.
"I think the ICC will take a call soon. If the World Cup is happening, then teams need to start preparing too. Also, World Cup without crowd is no World Cup but you can play an IPL behind closed doors," added Patel.