Calcutta / New Delhi: The Champions League Twenty20 tournament, which was scheduled to be held in India in October, is likely to be shifted to South Africa due to logistical problems.
The decision to shift the tournament out of India was taken at the CLT20’s Governing Council (GC) meeting in Chennai on Sunday.
The GC also decided to include Mumbai Indians as the fourth Indian team in the tournament, in which a Pakistani side will participate for the first time along with four teams from India, two from Australia and one from South Africa.
The decision is expected to be ratified at another GC meeting, to be held in Kuala Lumpur, on June 26, on the sidelines of the ICC annual conference.
A top Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) source said the reasons for shifting the tournament to South Africa ranges from monsoon to Durga Puja celebrations that will coincide with the event.
“Calcutta is not in a position to hold any of the matches because of Durga Puja during that time. Many of the venues in South India will get monsoon showers… These factors will affect the matches,” the source said.
“South Africa has been sounded out and they will give their final decision soon. Once we get their response, we will shift the tournament to South Africa,” the source said.
South Africa had previously hosted the Champions League in 2010 prior to which the country played host to the Indian Premier League in 2009.
According to a cricket website, Cricket South Africa’s acting CEO Jacques Faul has revealed that they are in the loop but a confirmation will only be received later this month.
“It could be a possibility (that SA will host) but we will only know later in June. There are problems with the IPL qualifiers venues for the CLT20 but there has been no final decision yet.” Faul said.
Though the matches originally scheduled in Calcutta would have finished before the Durga Puja, Chennai’s decision to not hold any CLT20 matches would have meant that the entire tournament would have shifted to the Eden.
Then it would have clashed with the Puja. And that is why the Cricket Association of Bengal brass backed off as providing security during the Durga Puja would have been difficult.
Coming to the participation of teams, Mumbai Indians, which finished fourth at the recently-concluded IPL-V, have also been given the opportunity to take part in the tournament. Normally only the top three teams of the IPL participate in the event.
The GC also approved the participation of Pakistan’s Sialkot Stallions in the tournament. They will take part in the qualifiers to make the cut in main draw.
The decision indicates a thaw in Indo-Pak bilateral cricket ties which had been snapped after the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. It could also now pave the way for participation of Pakistani players in the IPL for the first time after 2008.