Franchises unhappy over BCCI’s six-city arrangement for IPL 2021: Reports

IPL franchises are unhappy over the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) recent decision to host the 14th edition of the tournament across six cities. The board steered away from the initial plan of conducting the tournament in Maharashtra and Ahmedabad.

The league stage of the IPL 2021 was to originally be held in Mumbai and Pune, while the playoffs were to be held at the refurbished Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera.

However, recent reports say that the Indian cricket board has shortlisted six cities- Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Kolkata for this year’s IPL.

This new arrangement hasn’t gone down well with the franchise officials. This is so as they would now not only have to travel extensively but have also been left in a state of a fix after signing players best suited for earlier venues.

“Obviously, it’s scary. The earlier idea of hosting it in one or two cities sounded far better. After all, the 2020 edition was conducted between three venues and it went well…Franchises had started preparing, thinking it was only going to be between Mumbai and Pune, with the playoffs in Ahmedabad. Those plans change now. Franchises will want to know more and that will happen soon,” franchise representatives told TOI.

There were initial talks of IPL 2020 taking place in a cluster-caravan format. Teams were supposed to be divided into two groups, playing a certain number of matches at the same venue across two cities before being swapped and moved to two other cities.

According to a source who knows the developments confirmed the IPL 2021 will follow the same format. The only change would be that more than one team will be stationed in the same city making bio-bubble logistics seamless.

“The format of the tournament will not change. It’s the same home-and-away format, with each team hosting seven and travelling for the other seven. That’ll mean a total of 60 matches like it is conducted every year. The grouping of teams is only to ensure that preparing bio-secure bubbles becomes easier and there’s less confusion,” the source explained.

The 14th season of IPL would start around April 10 and continue till the first week of June. While matches in Mumbai will be held behind closed doors due to the surge in covid-19 cases in Maharashtra, other venues could permit up to 50 per cent of their respective audience capacities.

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