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No Lankan players in Chennai IPL matches

New Delhi/ Chennai: , March 26, 2013, DHNS: 8:25 IST

Security concerns force organisers to take a tough call

The Indian Premier League (IPL) governing council has decided against fielding Sri Lankan cricketers in matches to be played at Chennai in the wake of a public outcry in Tamil Nadu over the plight of the Tamil diaspora in Sri Lanka.

Soon after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stating that the state government would not allow IPL matches to be played in Chennai if Sri Lankan cricketers, umpires, officials or support staff participated, the IPL council held a tele-conference with the owners of the franchises. It was subsequently decided that Sri Lankan cricketers would not play in Chennai due to security concerns.

Tamil Nadu has witnessed an escalated public outcry recently over the alleged human rights violations against the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The issue even left the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre in a tizzy after a key ally, the DMK, pulled out of the coalition in support of the Lankan Tamils.

A statement by the IPL governing council stated: “The security of all involved in the IPL, whether players, spectators or those working in the stadiums, is of paramount importance to the BCCI. The governing council (has) decided that the Sri Lankan players will not participate in the IPL 2013 league matches in Chennai and will advise the nine franchisees.”

Chennai was slated to host 10 matches, eight league matches and two play-offs. The tournament, to be played between April 3 and May 26, features 11 Sri Lankan players.
Deccan Herald was the first to break the news of a possible threat to the IPL matches in Chennai on March 16.

In her letter to the prime minister, Jayalalitha said: “In view of the antipathy and anger in Tamil Nadu against the actions of the Sri Lankan government, the Government of Tamil Nadu is of the view that IPL matches involving Sri Lankan players, umpires and other officials should not be played in Tamil Nadu.

The Government of Tamil Nadu will permit IPL matches to be held in Tamil Nadu, only if the organisers provide an undertaking that no Sri Lankan players, umpires, officials or support staff would participate in these matches.”

Reacting to the letter, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said security and safety of the Sri Lankan players were of paramount importance.

“But we have to take care of local sentiments. The Lankan Board will be briefed on the security situation. All matches to be held in Chennai will go on as scheduled. It would be difficult to overrule the local administration’s concerns as it has to provide police bandobast for the matches,” he said.

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