The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) could lose the World T20 semi-final, likely to feature India if the team goes that far, after the ICC deadline “for clarity over the RP Mehra block” ended on Sunday evening. There is no official word yet from the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) but it is learnt that Bangalore is being kept as alternate venue for the March 30 semi-final.
“We were given time till Sunday evening to get clarity over the RP Mehra block. Since the case is in court, we have not got any clarity over the same. The ICC wants to use that particular area for branding and also for seating purposes, since the semi-final is a big game. No official word from BCCI or ICC yet, but our deadline has ended,” DDCA treasurer Ravinder Manchanda clarified.
Given that the matter is in court, DDCA vice-president Chetan Chauhan has also written to the ICC and BCCI seeking time till Monday evening. But even that went unanswered, deepening fears within the DDCA. “We have requested the ICC and BCCI to give the DDCA time till Monday evening as the plea to allow use of Old Club House is to be heard on Monday morning. However, we have not heard from them yet,” Chauhan said.
The latest development comes as major blow to the cash-strapped association, already struggling to meet expenses. Missing out on the semi-final could put the DDCA under more financial strain as it could end up losing approximately Rs 4 crore.
“It’s a major blow at this juncture. The DDCA is likely to lose out on at least Rs 4 crore if the match is moved out of Feroz Shah Kotla. If it happens, it will be a big big blow for us,” says Manchanda.
Going by the present scenario, Kotla may lose more than the semi-final, including the England vs Sri Lanka and South Africa vs Sri Lanka games, but Manchanda disagreed.
The DDCA has moved an application in the high court “requesting” the issue regarding the RP Mehra block be heard. It’s likely to come up for hearing on Monday morning. “The last time when we approached high court, it refused to take up the issue. We have again moved an application requesting them to hear our case,” Manchanda said.
Earlier this month, a high court bench had “refused to take up the issue” of the RP Mehra block, observing that the question of clearance from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was “between the DDCA and the authorities” since the structure falls within 100 metres of the heritage site Kotla Baoli.
The association had got the NOC and occupancy certificate from the SDMC but it didn’t cover the RP Mehra block, which has a capacity of 2,200 and is used by the media and host broadcasters.
After the observations, Justice Mukul Mudgal, appointed by the high court to oversee preparations at the DDCA, directed the association “not to sell tickets for the block” and use it only for the broadcasters and media.
DDCA followed his directives for the women’s fixtures but ICC CEO Dave Richardson requested Justice Mudgal, in a meeting last week, to get a clarity over the issue since the RP Mehra block is a prime spot for sponsors and the empty stands, now covered with black cloth, wouldn’t look nice during live telecast.