- IPL will be doomed even if one COVID-19 case if found
- The focus should not be on finding a title sponsor but making sure not a single COVID-19 case is reported during the event said Ness Wadia
- The 13th edition of the IPL is set to take place in the UAE next month
Rather than speculating the title sponsor for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League, Co-Owner of Kings XI Punjab Ness Wadia says the focus must be on ensuring that not even a single Coronavirus case is reported during the event, which as per him is going to be the “best ever”.
Though an official announcement from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to come that the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo has pulled out of the title sponsorship for IPL 2020, it is being assumed that the company will back out from the Rs 440 crore per year contract at least this season given the soaring Sino-India diplomatic tensions.
After the owners’ meeting on Wednesday evening, Wadia addressed the reporters and said, “There is much speculation going on. I think it is ridiculous. The only thing we (team owners) know is that the IPL is happening. We are very concerned about the safety of the players and all others involved. Even if there is one case, the IPL could be doomed,”.
After the violent face off between the Indian and Chinese soldiers in eastern Ladakh in June, Wadia had said that the IPL should distance itself from the Chinese sponsors, slowly.
Irrespective of Vivo’s future with IPL, Wadia said that there are sufficient sponsors who can replace the Chinese smartphone manufacturer when the need arises.
Wadia said, “I don’t know what the BCCI has decided on title sponsorship. All the team owners had a productive meeting and are on the same page to make IPL a success. We need to support the BCCI and will be meeting again soon,”.
In the current economic environment, Wadia says he is expective tough negotiations for both team and IPL sponsorships.
He said, “All the sponsors are going to negotiate hard but I will change by name if it is not the most watched IPL ever. It will be the best ever IPL. You mark my words. Sponsors would be foolish not to be part of IPL this year.”
Wadia also added that “It would be a wrong commercial decision on their part to not be a part of the IPL. I truly believe that if I was a sponsor, I would be jump right in.”
The Indian cricket board sent a 16 page SOP to the teams to ensure a smooth conduct of the IPL 2020. It requires the players along with the team officials, owners and the support staff to be part of a bio-secure environment.
Talking about his travelling plans, Wadia said, he has not decided anything yet about travelling to the UAE for the 13th edition of IPL saying safety can’t be compromised. Wadia added, “We have to adjust and acclimatise to the (bio-secure) environment. One case could kill the IPL. Extraneous circumstances require ordinary people to do extraordinary things,”.