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First half has to be shifted

- Government expresses inability to provide adequate security for IPL VII

New Delhi: With the government making it clear that it will not be able to provide adequate security for IPL VII, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has started talking to Boards of other countries for alternative venues, IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal revealed on Friday.

“The (central) government had expressed its inability to provide adequate security for IPL VII in view of the upcoming general elections.

“So we have started talking to (Boards of) different countries to hold the tournament,” Biswal, who has recently been elected to the Rajya Sabha as a Congress candidate from Odisha, said.

Asked if South Africa is a likely venue, he said: “South Africa is a favoured venue to host the matches, but we will have to decide.”

The African country had also hosted the 2009 edition of the tournament.

Earlier in the day, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said that the government would not be able to provide adequate security for IPL VII as its dates clash with the general elections.

The tournament has to be held in the April 9-June 3 window.

“Due to general elections, it will be difficult to provide adequate security to IPL matches,” Shinde said.

Sources said that the home ministry has conveyed to the BCCI that it would be able to provide adequate security personnel only after the general elections, which are expected to be over by mid-May.

In other words then, the BCCI would be looking to shift only the first half of the tournament and try to stage the latter half in India.

More than 1.20 lakh central paramilitary force personnel, in addition to state police forces, are expected to be deployed for the multi-phased Lok Sabha polls, which are likely to be held in April-May.

The sources said that the home ministry has started preparing for the massive exercise of mobilising the security personnel from different paramilitary forces to be deployed for poll duties.

Paramilitary forces are also deployed in Naxal-affected states, Jammu and Kashmir and the north-eastern states.

Biswal, however, added that whatever alternatives the Board comes up with, it would have to get all government clearances before holding the tournament in another country.

“There is not going to be any IPL without government clearance. We will get all the clearances before the tournament,” he said.

A working committee meeting of the BCCI will held in Bhubaneswar, Biswal’s home turf, on February 28. That will be preceded by a meeting of the IPL’s governing council.

On the IPL spot-fixing case, Biswal said: “The Supreme Court had given the green signal for the players’ auction. So we went ahead for IPL VII. The apex court will take a call on the case. But I can tell you, IPL VII will be grander, cleaner and controversy free.”