Officials of BCCI's state units won't be able to attend "at least the beginning" of the IPL because of the strict bio-bubble in place for the tournament beginning September 19 in the UAE, board secretary Jay Shah informed the member associations on Tuesday (25 August).
Shah is confident that by the business end of the tournament, some of the travel restrictions will be relaxed, making it easier for members to travel to the UAE. The IPL final will be played on November 10.
BCCI inviting officials from its state units for the IPL ceremony and play-offs is conventional practice it follows, whether the tournament is held in India or abroad.
"While I am confident that we would be able to deliver a memorable tournament, I will be approaching the start of the tournament with a heavy heart as your absence would render the opening incomplete," BCCI secretary Shah wrote in an email to state units, which is in possession of PTI.
"As you are aware, the BCCI invites its former Office Bearers and the Presidents and Secretaries of all its state units to the IPL opening game and league matches as well as for the finals," Shah wrote.
The tournament is taking place in the UAE due to the COVID-19 situation in India and anyone part of the event needs to strictly adhere to the guidelines issued by the BCCI. At the moment, all teams are undergoing a mandatory six-day quarantine following their arrival last week.
"...owing to some stringent restrictions on the movement of people and on account of the protocols put in place by us which includes the creation of several bio-secure bubbles to minimize the damage caused by COVID-19, we would not be able to have our annual gathering, at least at the beginning of the tournament," Shah wrote.
"The restriction on physical presence is the best way to avoid contracting and spreading the deadly virus and after a long-fought battle, this is yet another sacrifice that we are forced to make," the board secretary further wrote.
Shah made it clear that if situation improves in November, the members could be invited for the play-offs.
"I am hopeful that till the time we reach the playoff week, we would have more relaxations on travel and interactions, which would allow us to have you all travel to the UAE," Shah assured.
He agreed that IPL is also a forum for discussing all board related matters.
"Over the years, the IPL games have proved to be a fantastic platform for all of us to get together to witness some exhilarating cricket and also to exchange thoughts and ideas about the upcoming season and discuss matters related to the Board.
"However, as we take our first steps towards the resumption of cricket, let me assure you that we are pulling out all stops and making every effort to secure your presence for the crucial playoff stage of the IPL," Shah said.
Shah also thanked the members for pulling through in these tough times.
"Lastly, I wish to apprise you about the fact that we are aware of the difficulties that you are facing in these times and I assure you that all necessary steps would be taken by us in consultation with you, to alleviate those difficulties at the appropriate stage.
"The strength of the BCCI lies in its members and the matters of policy would only be firmed up with your inputs and upon the approval of the General Body," Shah concluded.