The Indian Premier League on Sunday confirmed that the much-delayed 2020 tournament will finally start in the United Arab Emirates in September because of the mounting coronavirus pandemic in India.
It will be the third time that the world's richest cricket tournament has had to be held outside its home country.
The tournament will start on September 19 and the final will be on November 10, said Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Jay Shah in a statement after a video meeting of the IPL governing council.
"Taking note of the prevailing COVID-19 situation in India, the IPL governing council decided to stage the tournament in the United Arab Emirates and the matches will be played in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi subject to necessary clearances from the government of India," said Shah.
Ten of the matches will be held in the afternoon while the rest will all be in the evening.
The statement said the governing council discussed health procedures for the eight teams but did not say whether the players would have to undergo quarantine in the UAE before the tournament starts.
The UAE currently requires tourists to be in isolation for 14 days.
The Indian Premier League's Governing Council on Sunday decided to retain all its sponsors, including Chinese mobile company VIVO, and approved COVID-19 substitutions in the event to be held in UAE this year.
The tournament will be played from September 19 to November 10 at three venues in the UAE -- Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi -- subject to government approval, which is expected in the next couple of days.
"The 53-day tournament will witness 10-afternoon matches starting at 15:30 IST while the evening matches will start at 19:30 IST," stated a release from the BCCI.
"Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is still being prepared but there would be any number of COVID replacements this year," a BCCI official told PTI.
A lingering issue put to rest on Sunday was Chinese sponsorship of the IPL.
It became a bone of contention after violent clashes between the Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh in June. India lost 20 soldiers in the showdown, causing outrage across the country after which the BCCI promised to review the deals.
"All I can say is that all our sponsors are with us. Hopefully you can read between the lines," an IPL GC member told PTI on conditions of anonymity after Sunday's meeting.
As IPL title sponsor, VIVO pays around ₹440 crore per year, a five-year deal that ends in 2022. It would have been difficult for the Board to get new sponsors at a short notice given the current financially difficult climate.
In another major decision, the IPL GC also approved the women's IPL, a development first reported by PTI after speaking to BCCI president Sourav Ganguly on Sunday.