Slim chance IPL can be completed in UK, Middle East: Rajasthan owner

FILE PHOTO: A policeman stands guard at one of the entrances to a cricket stadium during a match in IPL tournament in Kolkata April 19, 2010. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal

(Reuters) - There is a "small possibility" that the remainder of the suspended Indian Premier League (IPL) season can be played in the United Kingdom or the Middle East later this year, Rajasthan Royals owner Manoj Badale said.

The popular Twenty20 tournament was suspended indefinitely earlier this month after several personnel tested positive for COVID-19 amid a devastating second wave of novel coronavirus cases in the country.

The pandemic also forced the BCCI to move the 2020 edition of the IPL to the United Arab Emirates where matches were held in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah between September and November.

Badale said finding space on the calendar would be the biggest obstacle with India set to host the T20 World Cup in October.

"There is a possibility, a small possibility, that in September there might be something in the UK or possibly something in the Middle East either side of the T20 World Cup but it's going to be a real challenge," Badale told reporters.

"In my opinion, the players are already playing too much cricket. The calendars are incredibly packed, particularly this year after COVID. Boards from around the world are trying to get as many competitions and as many test matches as possible."

Warwickshire, Surrey and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) have offered to host the IPL's remaining 31 matches in September.

Sourav Ganguly, head of the Indian board, said earlier this week COVID-19 restrictions meant it was impossible to stage the remaining games in India where the number of infections have climbed above 24 million.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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