UAE Chosen To Host First Stage Of Indian Premier League Twenty20
The UAE will host the first leg of this year's Indian Premier League, according to Amlan Chakraborty of REUTERS. The "lucrative" Twenty20 tournament this year "clashes with the parliamentary election in the world's biggest democracy." A "staggering" 814 million Indians will be eligible to vote from April 7 in what would be "the biggest election the world has ever seen." The Dubai-headquartered Int'l Cricket Council "hailed the decision," saying that IPL matches in UAE "would raise the game's profile in the Gulf nation which has qualified for this year's World Twenty20 and next year's 50-over World Cup." ICC CEO David Richardson called it "great news" and "pledged the governing body's support to the event" (REUTERS, 3/12). In Dubai, Osman Samiuddin reported the Board of Control for Cricket in India "has decided to break down the season into three phases, beginning with the UAE, possibly moving to Bangladesh from May 1, before returning to India from May 13." The league ends on June 1. The broad details were confirmed in a press release the BCCI sent out on Tuesday afternoon. It read, “From Wednesday 16th April to Wednesday 30th April, at least 16 matches will be held in the United Arab Emirates.” The development "caps what will be one of the most hectic seasons in the history of UAE cricket." Already this winter there have been two int'l series involving Pakistan, various U19 tournaments including the U19 World Cup, the World Twenty20 qualifiers and the forthcoming annual MCC visit (THE NATIONAL, 3/12).
FURTHER CONCERNS: The HINDUSTAN TIMES reported the BCCI’s decision to hold the IPL matches in a place notorious for match fixing and betting "will come under severe scrutiny." Incidentally, "fixing and betting were the reasons why the Indian cricket board had snapped all its cricketing ties with the UAE." The drastic step "was taken after the match-fixing scandal broke out" in '00. The Anti-Corruption Security Unit of the BCCI "is now bracing up for the challenges ahead," especially in light of the spot-fixing and betting scandal "that rocked the cash-rich tournament last year" (HINDUSTAN TIMES, 3/12). TNN reported Richardson "also assured of providing all the necessary helps to successfully conduct the IPL," said that the ICC "was ready to support the successful staging of the IPL 2014 matches in its home country." Richardson: "Recognizing the importance of the integrity of the competition, the ICC will provide its full support for the matches in the UAE, including through the provision of anti-corruption services" (TNN, 3/12). In London, Andy Wilson reported it is the second time in seven seasons that the IPL "has been forced to find alternative locations because of a clash with elections." In '09 the whole tournament "was played in South Africa" (GUARDIAN, 3/12).