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Cricket: IPL 2021 in UAE to allow fans back into stadiums

Five-time champions Mumbai Indians will clash with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in Dubai on Sunday.

The remainder of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) season will have spectators back inside stadiums when it resumes later this week in the United Arab Emirates, organisers say.

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.

“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 in a statement on Wednesday.

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 tournament resumes with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings playing the five-time champions Mumbai Indians at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday, four months after the world’s richest T20 league was halted midway by the 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 the IPL statement.

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

The IPL was shifted out last year to the UAE where it was held behind closed doors and fans stayed away in the first leg of this edition held in India.

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 remaining matches of the continuing 14th edition will be played in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah with players of all eight franchises in strict bio bubbles.




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