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T20 World Cup moved out of India to UAE and Oman

NEW DELHI: The T20 World Cup, scheduled to be played in October-November has been officially moved from India to UAE and Oman. The Indian cricket board (BCCI), however, will remain the hosting board.

BCCI took the decision on Monday after evaluating the thread posed by Covid-19 in India. BCCI will now work with ICC to finalise the tournament schedule with an eye on the remainder of this year’s IPL, which precedes the cup. The IPL was stopped midway this summer amid the devastating second wave. The T20 World Cup will likely start in Oman in the third week of October, after the IPL final, slated for mid-October.

Indian players will get two-week break before the T20 World Cup

The tentative plan is to play the IPL final in second week of October begin the T20 World Cup qualifiers as early as October 17.

Sources said BCCI is flexible with the IPL plan and is even contemplating finishing the IPL on Oct 10, which is Sunday. The idea is to start the T20 World Cup within a week after the IPL finishes. ICC and BCCI are looking to have the T20 WC final on November 14.

“The dates haven’t been finalised. Even if the tournament starts on the heels of the IPL, it will not be much of a problem because the first 12 matches of the tournament will be played between the eight teams as qualifiers. Those matches will be played in Oman,” BCCI president Sourav Ganguly told TOI on Monday.

The main leg of the T20 World Cup to be played between 12 teams – eight highest ranked T20I teams and four coming from the qualifiers – will start in the last week of Oct. That would leave the Indian players around 14 days between the two tournaments as mandated in the Justice Lodha committee recommendations.

‘GOVT HAD ASSURED SUPPORT FOR TAX EXEMPTION’

Shifting the T20 World Cup to UAE means that the BCCI will not have to seek any tax exemption from the Indian government as demanded by the ICC. Ganguly told TOI that the Union government was very supportive of the board when it came to offering exemptions.

“The government had assured us that it would support us when it came to tax exemption. The board was in constant touch with the government and it was decided that the safety of everyone involved in the tournament should be of paramount importance. Everything else can come later. Even the ICC and BCCI felt that taking such a risk in the prevailing conditions in India was not worth it.

“One must remember the T20 World Cup in Australia last year was postponed to 2022 because of Covid even as Australia was recovering from the pandemic,” Ganguly said.

BCCI now will not have to fret about the Rs 905 crore (approx US $120 million) which it would have lost from its coffers if it had failed to get the full tax exemption from the government.

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