Chidambaram says government will help IPL hold matches (Second Lead)

March 6th, 2009 - 4:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, March 6 (IANS) Home Minister P. Chidambaram said here Friday that the government will help the Indian Premier League (IPL) hold matches and ensure adequate security but the tournament must be rescheduled because the general elections are being held at the same time.
“Cricket in India is completely safe but the IPL and election schedules are overlapping and rescheduling seems unavoidable,” Chidambaram told reporters.

“I must know whether I have paramilitary forces to provide security to the IPL. To the best of our ability we will try to help IPL hold the matches,” he said.

The minister denied that he had suggested that IPL be postponed.

“I did not say it should be postponed. All I said was that the Election Commission announced the election dates Monday morning and the next afternoon it was brought to my notice that the IPL schedule and election schedule are exactly the same. I don’t blame the IPL management. When they announced the matches, they did not know the election schedule,” he said.

“I suggested that IPL should take a second look at the schedule and they have come up with another programme. In the meanwhile, they have got inputs from DGPs (directors general of police) and commissioners of the nine cities (where IPL matches will be played). They are discussing it in New Delhi,” he added.

The general elections are scheduled to be held April 16-May 13, while counting will take place May 16. The IPL will be held April 10-May 24.

To a query, Chidambaram said he did not want the IPL to move out of the country.

“The Indian Premier League should be in India. Where else it will be played?” he asked.

“I want cricket to be played in India but when played in India it should be completely safe. Nobody needs to worry about safety while playing in India,” he added.

When asked if the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore was actually aimed at the Indian team, Chidambaram said it was fortunate that Indian cricketers did not go to Pakistan and thus the question of the attack being aimed at Indians does not arise.

“This attack was on the Sri Lankan cricketers. No matter which country the cricketers belong to, we feel sorry and condemn it. Even if they had attacked the Pakistan team that would have been a sad development we would have condemned it,” he said.

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