Modi says IPL is on, Chidambaram assures help (Roundup)

March 6th, 2009 - 8:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai/Hyderabad, March 6 (IANS) Putting all speculations to rest, Indian Premier League (IPL) chief Lalit Modi Friday said that the Twenty20 league is on and the governing body is working on its revised schedule. The government said it would ensure adequate security for the tournament.
IPL chairman Modi at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai said: “We want to assure all our fans and sponsors that the IPL is on. There are a lot of speculations. There is no question of IPL moving to any other country.”

Modi, who is also the vice-president of the Indian cricket board, said the IPL is working on a revised fixture and it will be decided soon. He also said that the IPL will also come up with a security plan next week.

In Hyderabad, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said the government will help the 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 the election schedules are overlapping and rescheduling seems unavoidable,” Chidambaram said. “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 he had suggested that the 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.

Modi also said that the his men are working on a rescheduling the fixtures.

“We are rescheduling the fixture and we are in touch with all state associations. It is a cumbersome process and can’t be done overnight. We will shortly have a new schedule out,” he said.

Modi, however, made it clear that there won’t be any matches on the day of the counting - May 16.

“There won’t be a match in a city also on election day. We are working on it and we have also 14 cities available and we have to shortlist eight from them,” he said.

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.

Chidambaram said he never wanted the IPL to be postponed or moved out of the country. He said he wanted the IPL organisers to reschedule some of the matches.

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

“I suggested 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.

Chidambaram also said it was fortunate that Indian cricketers did not go to Pakistan.

“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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