Crowds Back in Reduced Capacity in 2nd Leg of IPL 2021
This is the first time that crowds are being allowed to watch IPL matches at grounds since the 2019 season. Ahead of the second leg of the IPL 2021, franchises were informed by Hemang Amin, COO of the IPL, that fans would be allowed into stadiums in a reduced capacity. The world’s most lucrative league which was halted midway in May 2021 has resumed on September 19 and is being played at three host venues of Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai.
In a media release, the IPL authorities have called the return of spectators to stadiums “momentous,” while adding that “limited seating” would be allowed at the three UAE venues in keeping with the regulations of the UAE government over the duration of the pandemic.
IPL Statement to Media
“This match will be a momentous occasion as IPL will welcome the fans back to the stadiums after a brief hiatus owing to COVID-19 situation. Matches will be played at Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi with limited seating available keeping in mind the COVID protocols and UAE government regulations.”
Dress Rehearsal for T20 World Cup
However, no information has been provided about the proportion of tickets to be sold. Both the UAE government and the BCCI are likely to view the exercise as a rehearsal for the T20 World Cup to be held in the UAE from October 17. While Oman will host the first round of the global ICC event, the UAE will be the venue for the super 12s as well as the knockout games.
IPL 2021 Suspended after Surge of Cases within Bubble
This is the second IPL season to be held during the pandemic. The BCCI had in 2020 hosted the whole competition behind closed doors in the UAE. Indian cricket’s regulatory board began the tournament on April 9 in India. The league which was also held in stadiums bereft of spectators was brought to a premature halt on 3 May after an outbreak of COVID-19 among members of four franchises in two different cities. With the threat of a worsening pandemic situation in the country, the BCCI decided to bring the competition to a temporary halt after 29 matches had been played.
Spectators Have Gradually Returned to Stadia
After the sporting world had been brought to a standstill by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, there was a gradual resumption of competitive cricket within stringent bio bubbles. Spectators were seen at stadia for the first time since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020 during the Australia-India series held between November 2020 and January 2021. Spectators also thronged grounds in Australia to witness the white-ball series between Australia and New Zealand in 2020. The BCCI allowed fans to witness matches between India and England in Chennai and Ahmedabad earlier in 2021, though later fixtures of the series were staged behind closed doors after a fresh outbreak of COVID-19 cases.
Only Fully Vaccinated Fans Likely to Watch Matches
The decision to allow crowds back into stadiums for the IPL 2021 could have been influenced by the fact that most people in the UAE have been fully vaccinated. Although the conditions to be fulfilled by overseas fans wishing to attend the IPL 2021 matches are not known, the IPL authorities are certain to have demanded that they be fully vaccinated. Tickets for the rest of the competition have been available since September 16 on PlatinumList.net as well as on www.iplt20.com, the tournament’s official website.
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