The Lanka Premier League (LPL) T20 Cricket Tournament received the approval of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday which will allow Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to conduct the event this month - albeit a week or so later than scheduled.
Officials from SLC, the Covid-19 Task Force and the Health Ministry met with President Rajapaksa yesterday to finalise the health guidelines for the tournament.
“The meeting was good and the President was positive about conducting the tournament,” SLC Vice-President and LPL Tournament Director, Ravin Wickramaratne told the Daily Mirror yesterday.
In a massive win for SLC they were also able to get some flexibility from Health Ministry officials on its strict health guidelines that require those arriving from overseas to be quarantined for 14 days.
“The players and support staff will need to go through only seven days of quarantine and they can begin personal training after three days,” Wickramaratne said.
The 14-day quarantine is said to have been a huge concern for some overseas players drafted for the LPL and SLC had been lobbying strongly to have that period reduced.
Wickramaratne added that they will also undergo at least four PCR tests before the tournament begins.
“They will have to do a PCR Test, 72 hours before leaving for Sri Lanka and then one on arrival here. After that, they will be tested again on the third and sixth days as well,” he added.
“The broadcast crew and others however will have to go through the full 14 days of quarantine,” he added.
Wickramaratne also confirmed that the tournament will have a delayed start, reportedly beginning on November 27 and ending on December 17.
There will be no reduction to the number of matches either, he confirmed, with all matches to be played at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Hambantota.
The LPL was shrouded in uncertainty last week as the Health Ministry had yet to give its approval to conduct the tournament and the health guidelines that would have to be followed.
However, following the intervention of the Sports Minister, the process was expedited, with SLC meeting Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi on Wednesday and the President and the Covid-19 Task Force yesterday, to receive the greenlight.
Meanwhile, Sports Minister, Namal Rajapaksa, who also participated at the meeting said: “I have instructed SLC to carry out the LPL to international standards, making sure we follow international rules and regulations and organise the tournament in a structurally and financially transparent manner.” (SMD)