New Delhi, February 26: Progressing from the initial idea of hosting the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) in one city, the Board of Control for Cricket in India is exploring the option of playing the league across four to five cities. While the logistical part will need further discussion, the idea has been floated and is being discussed by the senior officials of the board.
A BCCI official said the idea has indeed been discussed and while it is still early days, the IPL 2021 could be played in more than one city if things go as per plan.
"We are exploring the possibility of conducting the IPL 2021 at more venues than originally planned. The intent is to take it to more fans as the situation is moving towards normalcy. The feasibility of the bio-secure bubble and logistics will of course be crucial to determine the venues finally. It is a fluid situation and the health of the participants is our primary concern," the official told ANI.
Some of the cities that have been discussed are Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad among others. While the tournament is still some time away, franchises too are open to the idea of having the league in more than one city as that will help to stay flexible with an eye on the COVID-19 situation.
"See, there is still some time left for the league to get underway, but we are more than keen to play the league across a few cities. The worry with hosting it in one city is that the COVID-19 situation is constantly changing. So, if by chance one of the cities picked sees a situation where it gets difficult to host the games, another city can go ahead and logistically it will be easier for the board and the franchises," an IPL franchise official said.
While the BCCI is keen to take the IPL to as many fans as possible, the board is also clear that the bio-bubble restrictions will be made keeping the safety of the players in mind as was the case when the tournament was moved to UAE in 2020.
"With multiple cities, obviously there will be individual bubbles. While we want fans from different cities to enjoy the games, safety of the players and those involved in the league will be a priority," the BCCI official said.