In the most shocking development, today BCCI in its meeting on IPL has decided to conduct the famous tournament out of India due to denial of security during General Elections by the state governments. Since last few days IPL authorities have been in consultation with the state & central government regarding the schedule so that the dates could be adjusted taking into account the general elections. Central government had already expressed its inability to provide additional paramilitary forces to the states during election period.
Though what comes as a big surprise is that just a couple of days back states had agreed to the timetable & the venues were fixed after taking their permissions. According to the press release by BCCI President Shashank Manohar, states that have denied permissions are Maharashtra & Andhra Pradesh. A couple of days back Home Minister of Maharashtra had himself agreed to provide the security & so also the Andhra Pradesh authority so why they a did a volte face is baffling. According to the news reports, Chief Minister of Maharashtra has denied the permissions.
There also seems to be another angle, the states that have denied security are ruled by the Congress Party which is also the ruling party at the centre. News doing the inside circles is that party high command may have asked the state units to avoid matches as any untoward event could seriously hamper the party’s credibility & therefore the elections outcome. Opposition BJP ruled states like Gujarat, Karnataka & Himachal Pradesh had agreed to conduct the IPL matches as per the new schedule.
Now the BCCI is discussing with ECB & Cricket South Africa to host the event in England or South Africa. It is most likely that England will host the event taking into account several factors like huge Indian Community in England, recently developed good relations with ECB after the Mumbai Blasts, no security concerns thereby improving the players participation & easy travel due to close locations. But plenty of obstacles lie ahead including the county season, match timings & financial implications. South Africa is also in consideration but considering their international schedule, upcoming ODI’s against Australia, its unlikely to host the event.
There are concerns about the financial implications arising out of this development. Indian sponsors will demand the huge money they had invested in the event. BCCI is already at loggerheads with the broadcaster Sony. There may be more legal hassles. Though it is said that most big sponsors are the international companies like Nokia, Vodafone & Coca- Cola etc. Few renegotiations will definitely take place. But it is for sure that BCCI will lose tremendous amount of money due to this development.
What this all drama means to India? Its utter shame that government is unable to provide the security to such glorious social & sporting events. This embarrassment raises several questions including how safe India is for travelers? No doubt it will project India in a negative fashion & this may result in some financial loses to the country & decreased confidence in the international community. Though the brighter side is that IPL will take place. People will be able to enjoy the matches at the foresaid schedule & at the same timings (4PM & 8PM IST).
Keep watching this space for further developments regarding IPL & please don’t forget to express your first reactions in comments.
Update (24/03/09 9:20 PM IST) :- According to the reports, various reasons like weather concerns, local cricket & football seasons & refusal of London Police Authority to provide the security, has forced IPL authorities to conduct it in South Africa. Venues -Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg & Port Elizabeth.