DUBAI: The Indian Premier League will welcome back fans for the first time since the 2019 edition when the Twenty20 extravaganza resumes in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, organisers said on Wednesday.

Five-time champions Mumbai Indians will clash with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in Dubai on Sunday, four months after the world’s richest T20 league was halted midway by the coronavirus pandemic in India.

“This match will be a momentous occasion as IPL will welcome the fans back to the stadiums after a brief hiatus owing to Covid-19 situation,” said an IPL statement.

The tickets for the remainder of the tournament, which will conclude with the final on October 15, will be available from Thursday.

“Matches will be played at Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi with limited seating available keeping in mind the Covid protocols and UAE government regulations,” organisers said.

The league, however, did not specify the number of fans that would be allowed, or if a vaccine certificate would be mandatory for entry.

The IPL was suspended in May with 31 matches left to play after several players and backroom staff tested positive for Covid-19 amid a devastating second wave in India.

The entire tournament in 2020 was played in empty stadiums, also in the UAE, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Broadcasters used virtual background noise of fans cheering and stadium roars for the TV audience as matches were played in empty stadiums in the UAE and India.

The Super 12s and knockout stage of the men’s World Twenty20 tournament will also take place in the UAE in October and November.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2021

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