BCCI ponders Bangla-UAE swing before final stretch

Final decision to be made after election schedule is announced

The BCCI Working Committee devised a strategy by which they can at least hold a substantial part of the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League in India as per the wishes of the franchises if the counting of votes in the general elections ends by May 15.

As per the discussions at the meeting, the IPL will only be held in South Africa if the T20 event is organised there in its entirety. Or else, Bangladesh or United Arab Emirates will hold three to five rounds till the end of the entire election process.
“The members are of the opinion that it will be held in South Africa only if the entire election process with the countings and everything is not completed till the end of May. It will not be partly held in South Africa,” a senior working committee member preferring anonymity told PTI on Friday.

He also said that BCCI is keeping its fingers crossed and hoping that the counting finishes by May 15.

“Our vice-president Rajiv Shukla informed the committee that election dates will be announced by March 5. If the entire electoral process ends by May 15, then we can have the first few rounds in UAE and Bangladesh, which also won’t be a logistical nightmare,” the senior official added.

“Post May 15, as the government would be able to provide security, the tournament will come back to India. We can’t make our stakeholders angry. The franchises, the principal sponsors including the title sponsors want it to be held in India,” the official said.

“So we are going to try and organise for the maximum number of matches in India. We can’t deny the franchises from getting their share of gate sales and initiate brand activation procedure,” he concluded.

The matter was debated in detail at BCCI’s working committee meeting here, with the home ministry having made it clear it would not be able to provide security for the event due to the elections set for April-May.

“The matter was debated at the working committee meeting and it was decided to wait till the announcement of the dates for the coming elections,” BCCI President N Srinivasan told reporters.

Flanked by IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal and board secretary Sanjay Patel, Srinivasan, however, indicated that the first half of this year’s IPL season may have to be shifted to a foreign venue. “The IPL matches can return to India once the elections are over”, he said.

On the possible foreign location, the BCCI chief said that the cricket establishments of three countries — South Africa, Bangladesh and United Arab Emirates — had already expressed their keen interest to host the IPL matches. “A final decision on the proposals will be taken later on,” Srinivasan said.

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