The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has appointed a UAE-based healthcare group, VPS Healthcare, as the official testing agency for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Being the official testing partner, VPS Healthcare will be responsible for the COVID-19 testing for all players, support staff of franchisees, BCCI staff, and the wider IPL stakeholders for the entire duration of the tournament. During the tournament, the healthcare group will be conducting over 20,000 tests.
Initially scheduled to commence in March in India, the tournament was postponed due to the coronavirus. Now the 2020 edition of the IPL will take place in the UAE, beginning from September 19.
In the UAE, the matches will be held in a bio-secure environment to reduce the chance of contraction of COVID-19 among players and supporting staff.
The healthcare group has an extensive presence in the three emirates of the country - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah, where the matches will be held.
Also, VPS Healthcare will be facilitating the COVID-19 solution for the bio-bubble ensuring regular COVID-19 tests at specified intervals.
If the ongoing discussion between BCCI and VPS Healthcare regarding the provision of other medical services translates into a deal, the healthcare group will be providing allied medical support services, including hospitalization and treatment in case of emergencies.
"Our responsibility is to facilitate the bio-bubble by providing COVID-19 solutions for the tournament. As part of this, we will be conducting massive COVID-19 tests of the entire IPL fraternity, including players, supporting staff of the franchisees, BCCI officials and other IPL stakeholders during the entire period of the tournament. We have assigned a team each for three emirates comprising of our highly and extensively experienced COVID frontline warriors who were at the forefront during the peak of the pandemic," Safeer Ahamad, CEO of VPS Healthcare's LLH, Lifecare, and Medeor Hospitals, said in a statement.
As the teams have started arriving in the UAE, the COVID-19 testing process has already begun.