IPL in charge of security; Ahmedabad, Visakhapatnam added as venues (Roundup)

March 10th, 2009 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, March 10 (IANS) Players’ security during the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be centrally monitored by the league’s governing council and will be handled in consultation with the reputed South African security agency Nicolas Steyn.
Nicolas Steyn had been incharge of security at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and the 2007 Cricket World Cup and will also be responsible for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Announcing the consultant Tuesday, IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi also told reporters that Ahmedabad and Visakhapatnam will be additional venues while Dharmasala and Nagpur were also being considered for hosting some matches. The two new venues are in addition to the existing eight - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Mohali.

Modi promised the best possible security arrangements for the IPL’s second edition, saying that there would be no comparison with the security provided for the Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore last week when they were ambushed by terrorists.

He said security was paramount and from the moment foreign players land in India till they depart, their security will be taken care of. There would be a central team overseeing security at all venues in coordination with police forces of the states where the matches are to be played.

“Security will be centrally monitored by the IPL. Last time players’ security was the responsibility of the respective franchises. This time, right from the day they (the players) land in India to the time they leave, their security will be IPL’s responsibility,” Modi said.

Modi said the security budget for the tournament has ramped up 10 times this year as every measure has been taken to ensure safety of the players during their stay in India.

Modi said the players would get the level of security the England team got on their return to play a Test series following the Mumbai terror attacks in November. In a comprehensive exercise, thousands of police and commandos were deployed around the team hotel and the stadium with snipers on the rooftops.

“Using the Chennai security template, we were able to convince the England team to return to India and now we will apply the same security ring now,” said Modi.

On reported concern expressed by players and officials in the aftermath of the Lahore attacks, Modi said that “not a single player, directly or indirectly, has contacted the IPL expressing his security apprehensions. In fact, I spoke to the two players who were quoted in the media.”

Modi, a vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said his board and IPL organisers had always talked to boards in other countries. “We will again discuss the event and share details with the national cricket boards,” he added.

Modi said the governing body was still working on the revised schedule to avoid clash of dates with the April-May general elections and the new itinerary would be released in a couple of days.

“We have got confirmation from three states in writing but we want everyone to give it in writing before announcing the revised schedule, though 90 percent of the states have verbally given their approval. We went through every stakeholder, including the state governments, and asked them what are the dates they don’t want matches in their cities,” said Modi.

The home ministry said that it has received the revised schedule of the second edition of the IPL and sent this to the police chiefs of the respective states for their views on holding the matches on the revised dates.

“We will be in a position to announce if the schedule fits in with security concerns in a day or two,” said a top home ministry functionary. “For us, security is of paramount concern.”

The IPL organisers have also told the home ministry that they do not require any central paramilitary forces for providing security.

Rubbishing speculation about Jaipur not being a venue, Modi said the pink city will host matches of Rajasthan Royals.

“I can’t give you the number of matches in Jaipur but the Rajasthan government was the first to give the security clearance. But they have a blackout period in May when we can’t hold matches there,” he said.

Modi also said that Chennai Super Kings won’t play all their seven matches at home.

The opening and the closing ceremonies of the Twenty20 league will be at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. The 45-day extravaganza begins April 10. Sixty matches will be played among eight teams, with the final on May 24.

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