UAE stadiums to be at 70% capacity for T20 World Cup, Oman reels from cyclone
Stadiums in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will operate at 70% of capacity for the Twenty20 World Cup, the organisers said, though conditions in Oman, where preliminary rounds are due to be played, have still to be fully assessed following a cyclone.
Tropical Cyclone Shaheen struck coastal areas of Oman, including the capital of Muscat on Sunday, just a week before preliminary round matches of the tournament commence on October 10.
Some 3,000 fans would be accommodated at Al Amerat stadium in Muscat, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement on Sunday, though the cyclone left streets in the Omani capital under water, prompted evacuations from coastal areas and delayed flights in and out of the country.
The 16-team tournament was shifted to the Gulf states as result of a surge of Covid-19 infections in India, but the Indian cricket board (BCCI) remains the event host.
The ICC said the BCCI and itself had worked closely with host authorities to ensure fans are welcomed in a safe environment and Covid-19 protocols are applied at all venues.
"The T20 World Cup is the largest sporting event to be held in the region and it will be the biggest global cricket event since the pandemic with fans in stadia," the ICC said.
"In the UAE all venues will be operating at approximately 70% of maximum seated capacity, whilst Abu Dhabi has also introduced new socially distanced 'pods' of a maximum of 4 spectators on their east and west grass mounds," it said.
Dubai, which hosts matches including the November 14 final, and Sharjah are the two other venues in the UAE.
The UAE is currently hosting the Indian Premier League (IPL) with fans at a reduced capacity.