HC asks BCCI to shift IPL matches

HC asks BCCI to shift IPL matches

HC asks BCCI to shift IPL matches

 In a major jolt to the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to shift all the matches scheduled after April 30 out of Maharashtra, including the play-offs and final.

The order comes in the wake of the water crisis in urban cities and drought situation in Marathwada region. “Matches scheduled until April 30 can be held in Maharashtra. After that all the IPL matches to be held outside the state in view of the issues raised before us," Justice V M Kanade said.

For nearly a week, a division bench comprising Justice Kanade and Justice M S Karnik heard a bunch of pleas including one by Loksatta Movement, an NGO and economist-activist Prof H M Desarda.

Marathwada-based activist Sanjay Lakhe-Patil and Keraleeya Kendra Sangathana too had intervened in the matter demanding the IPL out of the state.

The court has given 15 days to the BCCI to make logistical arrangements and posted the matter for May 2. “One of the matters raised before us was logistical issues for shifting the matches. We are giving a fortnight's time to make the logistical arrangements,” the bench said.

“In such cases one would have expected the BCCI and other respondents (Maharashtra Cricket Association and Mumbai  Cricket Association) to come forward on their own and shift the matches out of Maharashtra. However, unfortunately, nothing has been done. This court has now no other option than to direct BCCI to transfer matches out of Maharashtra,” the court said.

In view of the sentiments, the Maharashtra government took a careful stand. “The government’s stand is clear, the goverment is not in favour (of IPL) if potable water is misused. If there is misuse of water, the government would ensure that there is no match,” acting Advocate General Rohit Deo said.

Earlier, BCCI counsel Rafiq Dada told the bench that the two franchises from the state – Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants – are ready to contribute to the Chief Minister's drought relief fund.

Dada also told the high court that the cricket board is ready to supply over 60 lakh litres of non-potable water to drought-hit areas in Maharashtra free of cost. He said the water will be supplied in support with Royal Western India Turf Club, Mumbai Cricket Association and Maharashtra Cricket Association.

Rising Pune Supergiants' counsel Janak Dwarkadas said that their team was new, playing for the first time and shifting matches away from the home ground will impact its brand value. “Today IPL has the highest brand value... Home teams enjoy support of home ground... Shifting it from Pune would disturb the brand value and economics,” Dwarkadas said.

Dada said over Rs 30 crore have been invested by the franchises for holding the matches in their respective home cities. “During the T20 World Cup held recently, nine qualifying matches were held in Nagpur, but that time the issue was not raised,” Dada pointed out.

Rapping the Maharashtra government, the court observed that government on the one hand said that it has no objection if the IPL matches are shifted outside Maharashtra but on the other hand has not even bothered to inquire with the board, franchises or cricket associations over alleged misuse of water to maintain pitches and ground.

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