Mumbai: Indian Premier League (IPL) chief Lalit Modi insisted on Friday the billion-dollar tournament will go ahead as planned from next month, but with an altered schedule.
The Twenty20 tournament featuring leading cricketers from around the world was thrown into doubt when the Union government said it wanted the event postponed to avoid a clash with general elections.
But Modi said he was confident it would go ahead and hoped to get clearance from the government next week.
“We are working on a revised schedule where matches do not clash with elections in a particular city,” Modi told reporters after a meeting of the IPL governing council.
“It is a cumbersome process, but we hope to have a new schedule in place soon.”
Modi said there would be no IPL match on 16 May, the day when votes will be counted.
Union home minister P Chidambaram said earlier this week he would be “stretched” to provide adequate security for the popular tournament, as it clashed with the general elections.
The IPL is due to be played across eight cities in India from 10 April to 24 May. The parliamentary elections will be held in five phases between 16 April and 13 May.
Chidambaram said on Friday he would consult security forces and the Election Commission when the IPL submits a revised schedule.
“I want cricket to be played in India,” Chidambaram told reporters in Hyderabad.
“Cricket when played in India is completely safe. But I have to take note of the fact that the two schedules (IPL and elections) are completely overlapping.
Therefore, I suggested that the IPL should take a second look at the schedule. So they now have to come up with a new schedule.”
Security concerns were heightened following Tuesday’s deadly assault on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan, which injured seven players and an assistant coach and killed eight others.
Opening match to be held in Mumbai
The opening match and the formal inauguration of the second season of the IPL is to be held in Mumbai on 10 April, IPL sources said.
As per the original schedule issued by the organisers of the T20 league, Jaipur was to host the inaugural ceremony and the opener between first edition winners, Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils.
But the schedule had to be reworked following security concerns in the wake of the terror attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore and clashing of tournament dates with the general elections.
The revised schedule will be announced later, IPL sources said.