Former India captain Rahul Dravid has stressed on the importance of holding the Indian Premier League, especially in a year as unique as 2020, citing the financial importance the tournament holds to domestic cricket.

Dravid said that it is easy to be cynical about the cash-rich tournament and the millions that players and Board of Control for Cricket in India make as a result of it, but the revenue is critical to keep the domestic cricket machine functioning smoothly.

“Let’s be honest. There is a lot of revenue that rides with tournaments like the IPL,” Dravid is quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo during webinar hosted by Deccan Herald. “I know if you’re cynical about it, you can only look at the money that the big players make or maybe the franchises or BCCI make, but where does that money go? It goes down to state associations, in conducting Under-19 and Under-16 tournaments, so a lot of the revenue associated with the game.”

The 13th edition of IPL is all set to be held outside India, with United Arab Emirates hosting the tournament for the second time. Due to the coronavirus situation not abating in India, the tournament has been moved out, in a window vacated by the cancellation of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

“The fact of the matter is, none of the domestic sport actually generates any revenue. In fact, it costs a lot of money to hold. So if you want to give young boys and girls the opportunity to play, if you want to give them opportunities to express their talent, money has got to come from somewhere. The reality is, to conduct tournaments and develop high-class athletes, it costs money; there’s a financial element involved,” Dravid added.

BCCI Treasurer Arun Dhumal had earlier said that said the board could suffer huge losses if the Indian Premier League is not held and the Covid-19 pandemic carries on for a long time.

“We’ll be able to assess it once we know when we’re going to start [the cricket],” Dhumal had told Cricbuzz before the confirmation of IPL happening later in the year.

Now, IPL 2020 is expected to start on September 19 in the UAE, adding that players may need to undergo quarantine. Although India’s cricket authorities are still awaiting government approval, Brijesh Patel said the world’s richest cricket tournament will be played for 51 days with the final on November 8.

Under current UAE coronavirus rules, all travellers must self-isolate for two weeks after arriving.

Speaking about the domestic cricket season in India, which is to be heavily curtailed, Dravid added that creating bio-secure bubbles won’t be possible.

“It’s easy to say we’re conducting [the IPL] it only because of the huge finances riding on it. I would like to think, without compromising on safety and ensuring all the SOPs are in place to conduct a safe and secure tournament, the money generated from the IPL filters all through our sport and helps fund junior and domestic cricket. That is why sporting organisations are keen to conduct these tournaments. They understand if we don’t have that revenue, not only will that tournament suffer but the ripple effect will be felt all the way down.”