Venues in the United Arab Emirates will operate at a maximum capacity of 70% during the upcoming edition of cricket’s T20 World Cup.

The UAE will co-host the event alongside Oman from October 17 to November 14 after the International Cricket Council (ICC) opted to relocate the tournament from India due to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Host venues will include the Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi (pictured), the Sharjah Stadium and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground, with tickets going on sale yesterday (Sunday) for all 45 matches.

Ticket prices start at OMR10 (£19/€22/$26) in Oman and AED30 (£6/€7/$8) in the UAE. Socially distanced pods, which will seat a maximum of four spectators, will be introduced at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, while a 3,000-seat temporary infrastructure has been built at the Oman Cricket Academy Ground.

Despite the event having been relocated, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still serving as the host of the tournament. The BCCI and ICC have worked closely with host authorities to ensure fans can be welcomed safely, and COVID-19 protocols will apply at all venues.

The T20 World Cup will mark the biggest cricket event with fans in attendance since the start of the pandemic. Venues will include DJs, fan zones and other activations to enhance the fan experience on game days.

Geoff Allardice, acting chief executive of the ICC, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming fans back to international cricket in both Oman and the UAE to enjoy the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Our thanks to our hosts BCCI, Emirates Cricket Board and Oman Cricket as well as the local governments in these regions for their support in ensuring fans could attend in a safe environment.

“The biggest sporting spectacle to have ever taken place in the region deserved to be played out in front of passionate cricket fans from all 16 nations competing and we are doing everything possible to keep it safe for all. It has been five years since the last Men’s T20 World Cup and we can’t wait for the world’s best players to arrive in Oman and the UAE and showcase the very best of T20 cricket.”

Jay Shah, honorary secretary of the BCCI, added: “My sincere thanks to the government of the UAE and Oman for paving the way for fans to return. The anticipation for the World Cup, which is taking place after five years, is building with each passing day. I am sure we will have fans coming from different parts of the world to support their team. The vibe they will create will boost the performances on the field.

“The ticket sales have started, and I urge everyone to stay safe and follow the health advisories and savour the experience.”

The UAE is currently staging the conclusion of the Indian Premier League, with stadiums operating at reduced capacity.

The BCCI confirmed earlier this year that the remainder of the IPL season would take place in the UAE. The announcement came after the tournament, which had been taking place in India, was postponed in early May after a number of players tested positive for COVID-19 with 31 matches still needing to be played.

Image: Rizwan Ullah Wazir/CC BY 3.0/Edited for size