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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Neutral venues could get IPL games

The suggestion was made by a few state associations during the board’s AGM on Saturday, and the associations want the board to request IPL teams to play at least two games each on different venues.

Written by Devendra Pandey | Mumbai |
Updated: December 6, 2021 8:35:43 am
The topic came to the fore after the BCCI told the state associations to develop infrastructure, for which the board would help them financially. Some associations, then, pointed out that they have the requisite infrastructure but are not getting games. (File)

In the backdrop of some associations stating that they have built infrastructure but not getting international games, which can help them to maintain their stadium, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) is exploring the possibility of two IPL games per team to be played on neutral venues from next season onwards. The suggestion was made by a few state associations during the board’s Annual General Meeting in Kolkata on Saturday, and the associations want the board to request IPL teams to play at least two games each on different venues.

The topic came to the fore after the BCCI told the state associations to develop infrastructure, for which the board would help them financially. Some associations, then, pointed out that they have the requisite infrastructure but are not getting games. Presently, each association gets to host at least one international game in a span of three years, as part of the board’s rotation policy. But given the large number of international stadiums in the country, 24 in the latest count, many venues get matches few and far between.

Often smaller associations bear the brunt. “A small association hosts international games every three or sometimes four years,” pointed out a BCCI official, in terms of anonymity. “The BCCI wants each association to build their own stadium and infrastructure. A few state associations argued that they have built stadiums and are not getting any competitive games. It will be better if the BCCI decides to have IPL games in these smaller venues too so that they can get some revenue at the same time generate interest [among the locals],” he said.

Past incidents

In the past, some IPL franchises had allocated games to smaller venues. Punjab Kings used to play their games in Dharamshala and Indore. Delhi Capitals have played in Raipur and Chennai Super Kings shifted games to Ranchi, hometown of their talisman, MS Dhoni.

With two new IPL teams to play in the IPL from next season, some associations feel that the BCCI should make it mandatory for IPL teams to play in neutral venues. “There will be 10 IPL teams from next season. If these ten teams decide to play two games each then 20 matches can be played in a neutral venue. It will help states to generate revenue and at the same time, help state associations too. The Indian board has informed us that they will look into it and speak to the IPL franchise,” a state association member said.

Retired judge to head committee

The board has approached a retired Chief Justice to look into CVC Capital Partners’ acquisition of the Ahmedabad franchise, one of the two new teams from the next edition, a couple of weeks ago.

CVC Capital allegedly has links with a betting company, which the board came to know only after the team had acquired the franchise. CVC Capital Partners’ has, apparently, ties with Tipico, a sports betting and online gaming company, and Sisal, a betting gaming and payments, consumer/retail company.

The board hasn’t given a letter of intent to CVC and the franchise’s fate hangs in the hands of the retired judge. The Indian board had issued a tender process, inviting bids for its two new franchises. While Sanjiv Goenka’s company won the Lucknow one, CVC won the bid for Ahmedabad.

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