Cricket-T20 World Cup moved to UAE as India grapple with COVID-19

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Models take a selfie next to the World Twenty20 trophies after they arrived in Kolkata

By Amlan Chakraborty

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -This year's Twenty20 World Cup will be moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because to the COVID-19 situation in India and travel restrictions stemming from it, a top official of the Indian cricket board told Reuters on Monday.

The pandemic swept the world's second-most populous nation last year and India's total COVID-19 case load now stands at 30.27 million with total fatalities at 396,730, official data showed on Monday.

As the country scrambles to curb a more transmissible variant of the virus, experts have predicted a third wave of infection coinciding with the World Cup scheduled in October-November.

"We are monitoring the COVID-19 numbers in the country and there's no clarity about travel restrictions at that time," Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasure Arun Singh Dhumal said by telephone.

"We will stage it there in the UAE after the conclusion of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

"We will inform the International Cricket Council soon," he added.

World governing body ICC had set a June 28 deadline for the BCCI to take a decision on hosting the tournament.

India's slim chances of hosting the 16-team World Cup effectively evaporated in May when the BCCI had to suspend the IPL as cases surged in the country.

The BCCI announced last month the remaining IPL matches would be played in the UAE, which has been the back-up venue for the 16-team World Cup.

The UAE hosted IPL's entire 2020 season as well as the final phase of this year's Pakistan Super League.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Edmund Blair and Christian Radnedge)

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