A large part, if not the whole of the seventh edition, of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is likely to be held overseas as the government has said that it cannot guarantee security because of the upcoming general elections.
Though the dates of the elections have not been announced it is likely to be held by mid-May, which means it will coincide with the regular schedule of the IPL.
“Due to general elections, it will be difficult to provide adequate security to IPL matches,” Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters in New Delhi.
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More than 1.20 lakh central paramilitary force personnel, in addition to state police forces, are expected to be deployed for the multi-phased Lok Sabha polls, which are likely to be held in April-May.
The BCCI, keeping in mind that the general elections were around the corner, have not finalised the schedule for IPL 7. South Africa was one the venues being considered but IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal said on Friday that the BCCI was talking to other cricket boards.
“The (central) government had expressed its inability to provide adequate security for IPL 7 in view of the upcoming general elections. So we have started talking to different countries to hold the tournament,” he said.
Asked if South Africa is a likely venue, he said, “South Africa is a favoured venue to host the matches but we will have to decide.”
Meet to decide venue
The Indian board will now hold their working committee meeting in Bhubaneswar on February 28 and discuss the IPL issue. BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel has said apart from discussions on the IPL the working committee will also discuss the changed ICC structure.
“We have options ready but we will be discussing on all the minute details. South Africa, UAE and Bangladesh are the venues where IPL can be hosted. BCCI will see all possibilities before finalising the venue,” Patel said.
The BCCI is hoping to host the final stages of the league of IPL at home.
In the meeting on Wednesday, it is learnt that the BCCI secretary met the home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and was told that the BCCI could host the IPL post-May 11.
Patel is confident that half the games will be played in India and the BCCI will announce the venues in the coming days.
Biswal said in any case the IPL will have to get all government clearances before holding the tournament in another country.”There is not going to be any IPL without government clearance. We will get all the clearances before the tournament,” he said.
It won’t be the first time that the IPL will be played abroad. Five years ago under IPL commissioner Lalit Modi’s tenure BCCI had taken the IPL to South Africa in 2009.