New Delhi: In a desperate bid to save the second edition of Indian Premier League (IPL), its organizers have sent a revised schedule to the home ministry, which will now decide whether security can be arranged for the Twenty20 tournament.
Fate unclear: A file photo of an IPL match from the first season. PTI
IPL has come under a cloud of uncertainty in the wake of the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore on Tuesday and because the tournament overlaps with the Lok Sabha elections. The tournament was to start on 10 April, six days before the first phase of polling.
After a series of meetings, IPL organizers have redrawn the schedule of the tournament taking care to ensure that no matches are held on polling days in the cities hosting the games.
“We have taken care to ensure that host cities are not allotted a match two days before and after the polling day. We have submitted the schedule to the home ministry. It is up to them now to advise us,” a top IPL official said.
After the attack on the Sri Lankan team bus, home minister P. Chidambaram said he wanted IPL to be postponed, citing security concerns. The home ministry has made it clear that providing security for the league during general elections would be difficult. The organizers are not in favour of postponing the tournament because it may lead to massive financial losses for the franchise owners as well IPL itself.
Tuesday’s terror attack has added another problem for the IPL organizers, who expect pull-outs by many foreign players. Federation of International Cricketers Association chief executive Tim May has already sought a wider role in assessing security for players. In case IPL is postponed, it would be difficult to stage the event any this year because of a crammed cricket calendar.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi on Thursday favoured postponing the IPL, saying it was better not to indulge in “dangerous experiments” and repent later.
But as the home ministry has passed on a revised schedule for IPL to the states, the West Bengal government requested the Centre to reschedule matches in the city on 8 and 10 May as they are close to the Lok Sabha elections here.
“The dates (of the matches) have been revised once. Of the revised dates, we have problems with May 8 and 10 as these are close to the elections in Kolkata on May 13,” West Bengal home secretary Ardhendu Sen said.