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Cricket news - How IPL 2020 plans to move to UAE

Franchises have been sent a 16-page document detailing the Health and Safety protocols that will be in place during IPL 2020

Franchises have been sent a 16-page document detailing the Health and Safety protocols that will be in place during IPL 2020

With IPL 2020 set to move to the UAE under the cloud of a pandemic, there have been some stringent Standard Operating Procedures drafted by the board and shared with franchises.

The 16-page document overviewing the Health and Safety protocols during IPL 2020 lists minute details of how franchises, players, support staff and team owners amongst others, should adhere to and sign-on for the tournament. Cricbuzz understands that the protocols are largely final, but a few amongst these protocols could still change after consultation with the various stakeholders.

Testing and travel

Franchises are not allowed to leave before August 20, and have been advised to use chartered planes to get the players to UAE, if possible. And all the players will have to take two PCR Tests 24 hours apart prior to their arrival in UAE. And once in UAE all support staff and players will have to be tested three times in the span of 6 days. They will have to remain under quarantine for this period in their hotel rooms ("Meeting other players and team members is prohibited"). And once all three tests turn negative they are allowed into the bio-secure environments for regular training and practice. Additional tests will be conducted as and when required, apart from the mandatory tests every 5th day.

Franchises will also have to appoint their team doctors who'd be in charge of ensuring that all medical guidelines are followed. The medical staff will have their preparations done in advance with one of the protocols stating that the "medical team should obtain a complete medical and travel history (since 1st March 2020) of all players and team support staff at least 2 weeks before the scheduled departure to UAE. This will be done via an online questionnaire along with a daily temperature logging and symptom checker going live 2 weeks before the team's assembly."

The bio-secure environments

All 8 teams will have to stay in different hotels, with advise detailing even the types of hotels that can be booked. It'd be upon the franchises to secure acommodation, and it is advised that they book smaller properties which can be booked in full or separate wings in bigger hotels "that has a separate centralised AC unit than the rest of the hotel."

There are protocols listed for Hotels, Training sessions, matches and transportation,with zones additionally demarcated.

"The stadium Bio-Secure Environment will be divided into the following zones:

-Zone 1 - Players and Match Official Area (PMOA) and Field of Play (FOP)

- Zone 2 - Inner Zone - All operational areas within the stadium complex

- Zone 3 - Outer Zone - The area outside the stadium complex but within the boundary walls

All members are to operate strictly within their zones and are advised to do their communication over phones or video calls as much as possible.

Meetings and dressing rooms

In what could be a change from the norm, team meetings could now be done remotely as one of the protocols recommends that, "Video and remote conference call technology is recommended. However, if group meetings are held in person, they are encouraged to be held outdoors where possible following social distancing protocols." It further adds that indoor meetings will have to be conducted in "sufficiently large room to allow for social distancing".

The dressing room too, according to the protocol, could be more spread out than normal if needed - "The Bio-Secure Environment means only essential staff will be on site and no members of the public will be allowed. Therefore there will be more vacant areas at the stadium and hence the dressing room does not have to remain within the traditional area."

The players' zone and match protocols

The players and staff will need to have personalised belongings including water bottles, towels and cricket equipment. And in accordance with the ICC's guidelines, use of saliva will not be allowed on the cricket ball. The protocols also state that there will be specific time slots for players to use the gym and that "the same set of players should train together in the gym at all times."

During a match, there will be a single point of entry into the ground. The transportation too would have strict protocols in place with seating recommended only in window seats and a plastic sheet separating the driver. After the necessary temperature checks and filling in a daily questionnaire about their health. Electronic team sheets have been recommended during the toss when the captains usually exchange the playing elevens. There will also be designated seats for players in areas such as the dugouts. "All players will sanitise their hands before and after the drinks break," says one of the protocols.

What if someone tests positive within?

"Suspected/positive cases will be immediately isolated from rest of the squad."The team doctor will have to inform the IPL Medical manager immediately and "the case will be managed in close coordination with accredited hospitals and treatment centres equipped with COVID-19 testing and treatment."

With provisions in place for isolation in designated areas outside the bio-bubble, the individual will have to stay there for a period of two weeks. "After the 2 weeks isolation, the individual must return 2 negative PCR test reports done 24 hours apart before being permitted to re-enter the Bio-Secure Environment," says the protocol.

Team owners and family

The same protocols would apply to all team owners and family members of players as well. They would need to undergo the same procedures to remain in the bio-secure environment. And in case of a breach of the bubble, "will have to quarantine for 7 days and return two negative PCR tests on Day 6 and Day 7, to be allowed to re-enter the Bio-Secure Environment."

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