DUBAI: The decks were finally cleared today for the Asia Cup as BCCI officially handed over its hosting rights to the Emirates Cricket Board.
"The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Emirates Cricket Board signed an agreement today for the United Arab Emirates to host the 2018 edition of the Asia Cup," the BCCI stated in a release.
The agreement was signed in Dubai with the BCCI being represented by its acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary and CEO Rahul Johri. The chairman of the Emirates Cricket Board, His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, signed on their behalf.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will take part in the tournament. They will be joined by a sixth team -- the winner of the Asian Cricket Council qualifier event.
The tournament will be held from September 15 to 28 in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The event was originally scheduled in India with BCCI playing the hosts but Pakistan's participation was an issue considering the prevailing political situation between the neighbouring countries.
The BCCI couldn't procure relevant clearance from government security agencies to host Pakistan.
Earlier this year, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) decided that the tournament will be shifted to UAE but India will be hosting the tournament.
BCCI acting secretary Choudhary said:"We are thankful to the Emirates Cricket Board for hosting the 2018 Asia Cup on behalf of the BCCI. We will see some of the sport's powerhouse nations go head-to-head for ultimate glory and I am confident that cricket fans around the world will enjoy every moment of this prestigious event."
However, the COA faction was not on the same page with BCCI office bearers regarding handing over the hosting rights to the UAE.
Since organisation would involve financial transactions in foreign currency, a senior BCCI office-bearer had pointed out that FEMA (Foreign Exchanges Management Act) rules need to be thoroughly checked after the IPL II fiasco when Cricket South Africa hosted the cash-rich league in 2009.
The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) sanctions USD 2.5 million to the hosts for organisational purposes but it was pointed out that operational costs shoots up in the UAE.
The BCCI release does not state what will be the profit sharing mode from the ticket sales. The TV broadcast money goes to ACC.
The major attraction of this tournament is two assured Indo-Pakistan clashes.
From ECB, it's chairman said, "It is a matter of great pride for the UAE to host a prestigious event like the Asia Cup. Our country is home to a large section of people from the participating nations and we feel privileged and excited by the opportunity to bring their favourite sport right here to their doorstep.
"This is the biggest cricketing event to be held in the UAE and we will ensure every support to make the 2018 Asia Cup a huge success."