UK Police express doubt over holding IPL tournament

March 24th, 2009 - 3:30 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar.24 (ANI): Senior British police officers have expressed their reservations about holding the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 competition in England.
They have revealed that they were not consulted about plans to bring the Indian Premier League to England and fear that they will not be given enough time to ensure that proper security is in place for the competition, The Times has learnt.
England and South Africa are vying to stage the lucrative tournament after it was announced that policing problems during the Indian elections next month would make it impossible to guarantee security for supporters and some 220 players on the sub- continent.
England started as the preferred alternative at a meeting of the eight IPL franchise owners on Sunday, but heavy lobbying from South Africa appeared last night to be swinging a decision towards that country as the favoured stand-in host.
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Senior police sources told The Times: Frankly, theyve been getting a bit ahead of themselves. The focus has to be on the security of the crowds who would watch these matches, not on how much money they stand to make. There is a lot more work to be done before people are confident about the logistics and the security issues. The 45-day tournament is due to start on April 10 and falls in a congested period of security demands. In the week before, London hosts the G20 summit of world leaders, for which all police leave has been cancelled because of the likelihood of violent disorder.
The FA Cup semi-finals and final and the London Marathon are among events that also clash with the IPL. The cost of policing the cricket could be as much as five million pounds, which the IPL would be asked to pay. Before leaving Mumbai for South Africa, IPL chief Lalit Modi admitted that England had significant drawbacks.
Weather is a problem, he said. There are 70 per cent chances of the games being disrupted by rain. The IPL will also be clashing with the London Marathon and a number of Test matches, which will be blocking hotel rooms.
He was also unhappy that Lords would be unavailable for the IPLs opening match because it is hosting the domestic season curtain raiser between MCC and Durham, the county champions. It is believed that the South African Government spent yesterday heavily lobbying Modi and the IPL. There have been suggestions that South Africa would speed through visas for the players and had offered discounts on hotels and staging costs.
Andrew Wildblood, a senior vice-president at IMG, the management company that was the architect of the IPL, accompanied Modi to South Africa, but said that nothing should be read into the change of plan.
The plan is to come from South Africa to England later in the week, he said. (ANI)

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