The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the big decision of hosting the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 season in the country, ruling out the possibility of a part or full shifting outside despite the clash with the General Elections. With the season scheduled to start from March 23, the security management is going to be a big concern for the board as the Lok Sabha Elections are also expected to be held around the same period. To overcome the issue, BCCI has reportedly decided to give just three home matches to franchises and shuffle rest of the fixtures around neutral venues in order to have adequate security.
Although the dates of the General Elections aren’t out yet, as per Pune Mirror, the BCCI is expected to announce the formal schedule of the IPL 12 on February 2 or 3 along with a backup plan for a few matches. The management is planning things with the assumptions that the polls will start around the same time (April 7th), as it did the last time.
It has also been understood that the franchises had expressed their preference of playing matches at neutral venues – in cases where playing at home isn’t possible due to security issues – rather than having the tournament hosted overseas. The BCCI, hence, will come up with a list of 5-6 such neutral venues that can be utilised in such a case, with the home-away format understandably being sacrificed.
A senior BCCI official had told DNA about the discussions that were held within the BCCI about shifting the tournament outside the country due to security issues. “It was basically to ensure adequate security for all matches if central government refuses to commit the same like two previous elections,” the official said.
“The first objectivity was to keep the IPL in India. As the elections will be held in phases, so it should not be a problem for BCCI to find venues to suit both the teams as well as that particular state govt which has to provide the security,” an official revealed.
The board is also believed to have revealed it to the franchises of the scenario wherein they will only get to play three home matches and the rest away or on neutral venues.