The second edition of the Indian Premier League will go ahead with a few changes to the schedule, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said on Friday.
The tournament was in doubt after India’s home minister Palaniappan Chidambaram requested the tournament be held after the completion of Indian general elections.
Chidambaram, while indicating he could provide paramilitary security cover for the IPL, had said he did not want to stretch resources between the IPL and general elections.
Modi, who chaired an IPL governing council meeting with Board of Control for Cricket in India officials this morning, said the IPL would go on and that the league was in the process of tweaking the schedule to take into consideration dates on which cities go to the polls.
“I want to assure all our fans, sponsors and all stakeholders associated with the IPL that the tournament is on,” Modi said.
“We are extremely grateful and thankful to the Home Minister Mr Chidambaram for his clarification that security would be provided for IPL matches.”
“As requested, we are in touch with all states and we will shortly release a new schedule,” he said.
Earlier Chidambaram had requested the IPL to take a second look at the schedule.
“Cricket is always safe in India and nobody need worry about playing in India,” Chidambaram said.
“We will ensure safety when the matches are played.”
“However, we have asked for a revised schedule because the IPL and election schedules are overlapping.”
“I don’t blame the IPL management at all because they had finalised their dates well before the election dates were announced.”
“However, I am doing the best I can to help the tournament go ahead as planned,” he said.
The IPL had already promised the home ministry not to have matches 24 to 48 hours prior to polls in a city.
Modi said the new schedule would be revealed soon and also indicated matches could be held at different venues from the ones announced in the original schedule.
“We are working on the schedule and it’s a cumbersome task because we have to take into account days on which cities go to the poll.”
“The only thing we have decided is that there will be no matches in any city on the day of counting (May 16). That’s a blackout day.”
“Except for that, the schedule is being adjusted and the venues, dates and cities would be announced soon.”
“We currently have over 14 cities that are available and which can host matches.”
“We need to shortlist eight out of them and we are in the process of doing that. I don’t see a problem with that,” he said.
Modi said security would not be an issue.
“There are no reservations about security.”
“We are fully prepared on the security front and we will have a detailed briefing with our security experts next week,” he said.
Modi also refuted reports that the IPL could be moved out of the country due to security constraints.
“There is no question of moving the IPL to another country,” he said.
“These are baseless theories.”
“The IPL is and will remain a domestic tournament.”
The Delhi Daredevils reacted with relief to Modi’s assurances.
“We are relieved that the uncertainty has ended and that the tournament would go ahead as planned,” said Delhi Daredevils chief executive officer Amrit Mathur.
“We expect the new schedule very soon because we only have about a month to go for the event and lots of arrangements are dependent on the schedule.”
“We would have to get rolling immediately the schedule is out.”
Mathur said none of his players have raised concerns on security following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.
“None of the players have raised apprehensions, but I think once its clear that the new schedule has the approval of the government of India, the home ministry and the other appropriate authorities, I think that would give a lot of comfort to everyone concerned with the IPL.”
“It would also remove any concerns stakeholders might have had after the Lahore incidents.”
“I think fans in India and abroad are looking forward to a hugely successful season two,” he said.