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Chinese manufacturer VIVO has pulled out as the title sponsor of the Indian T20 League for this year's edition, which is set to begin on September 19 till November 10 in the United Arab Emirates.

VIVO had paid a whopping Rs 2199 crore for a five-year deal in 2018, and while the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) earlier confirmed that it had retained all of the sponsors for this year's edition, VIVO pulled out following criticism on social media. The company, however, will be back and will continue until 2023 as per the contract, meaning that there will be a new title sponsor for this year.

"VIVO has dropped out of Indian T20 League sponsorship this year. Since they had three years left under the contract, they will now do 2021, 2022 and 2023 instead," a source in BCCI said.

Earlier in the day, one nationalist group threatened to call a boycott of the Indian T20 League, picking up on a wave of anti-Chinese sentiment after a clash on the border between the neighbours' armies in which 20 Indian soldiers died.

A Vivo spokesperson, however, declined to give details about the development.

"We are neither denying or confirming the move," the spokesperson said.

The 13th edition of the Indian T20 League will be staged in the UAE, with tournament council setting a 24-player limit for each squad, and also approving the usage of unlimited substitutes due to the pandemic. Ten of the matches will be held in the afternoon while the rest will all be in the evening. Also, of the 53 days encompassing the event, ten of them will feature double-headers.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Indranil Mukherjee

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