The remaining matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) will be contested in the United Arab Emirates from September 18 to October 15. Along with the availability of overseas players for IPL 2021 Phase 2, BCCI now has another challenge. The UAE has extended the suspension of airline services to seven emirates from India until July 6. This implies that no one from India can enter the UAE during this time, causing a slew of problems for both BCCI IPL employees and franchisees.
The movement of passengers from India to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al-Qaiwain, Fujairah, Ajman, and Ra’s al-Khaimah—the seven emirates of the UAE—has been halted until July 6. This excludes UAE nationals, diplomats, and holders of the UAE golden visa. Some IPL franchise officials attempting to go to the UAE to arrange logistics for their teams have been unable to do so.
One of the franchise officials said, “we were planning to go to Dubai, Abu Dhabi in the first week of July to arrange & finalize all hotel bookings and other logistic for our team. But now with the new order, we will be postponing our visit for few days”.
Air India Express said in a tweet, “general Authority of Civil Aviation, UAE, has suspended all inbound passenger movement to the UAE from India, (excluding UAE nationals) till 6th July 2021”.
The embargo was first issued on April 25, following a spike in COVID-19 cases in India, and was then extended till June 30. The IPL’s organizers, the BCCI, will be impacted by the continuation of the ban on Indian travellers entering the country. According to BCCI insiders, the Indian board was going to send their team on recess, but that has been postponed for a few days.
The board’s main concern at the moment is the availability of international players. The Indian board has sought practically every board for help in getting the players released, but has yet to receive any serious pushback. The BCCI’s top brass is currently meeting in Mumbai to make a final decision on the T20 World Cup, IPL dates, and the problem of overseas players.