The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has taken a decision to hold the initial matches of the popular IPL 7 T20 cricket tournament in the UAE, the organisers have just confirmed.
The BCCI media statement confirms an earlier Emirates 24|7 report that said that the UAE was the top contenders to host the first half of the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League T20 tournament that begins next month. Read: UAE emerges as the front-runner to host IPL 7 next month.
“From Wednesday, April 16, to Wednesday, April 30, at least 16 matches will be held in the United Arab Emirates. BCCI is very grateful to the Emirates Cricket Board, its Chairman, HH Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al Nahayan, and the government of the UAE for their offer of wholehearted support to host the Pepsi IPL for this period,” the statement reads.
The BCCI top brass took the decision to shift the first half of the IPL matches to UAE, which also recently hosted the ICC U-19 World Cup, as India will be holding general elections during the period and security forces won’t be able to provide the required security cover for hosting the matches during the period.
ICC HAILS BCCI DECISION
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson today welcomed the decision of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to stage Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 matches in the UAE.
“The BCCI’s decision to stage the first part of the IPL 2014 season in the UAE is great news for the people of the UAE and the region. It will complete a remarkable season of cricket in the UAE, which has already seen the successful staging of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2013 and the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2014.
“This news comes on the back of the on-field success of the UAE national team which has qualified for both the ICC World Twenty20 2014 in Bangladesh and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand and has the potential to propel cricket’s profile to new heights in the country.”
Richardson, who is based in the UAE at the ICC headquarters in Dubai Sports City, said the ICC was ready to support the successful staging of the IPL 2014 matches in its home country.
“Recognising 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. It will also be a good opportunity for both the BCCI and the ICC to share knowledge and experience as we both strive to deliver memorable events to cricket fans around the world.”
EMIRATES CRICKET BOARD STATEMENT
The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) issuing a statement assured that they would work closely with the IPL's event management to deliver high quality cricket entertainment in the UAE.
David East, CEO of Emirates Cricket Board said: “We are delighted with the BCCI’s decision to choose the United Arab Emirates as a suitable co-host of the 2014 edition of the Indian Premier League.
“The IPL has redefined cricket in the modern era, and to be hosting it in the UAE is a tremendous honour and a privilege for everyone connected to cricket in Emirates.
“The unwavering support of the chairman of the Emirates Cricket Board, His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, has been crucial to this decision taking place and I would like to thank him for his dedication and commitment to cricket in the UAE.
“This builds on a significant period of growth and development for cricket in this country; that has put us back on the international cricketing map.
“I have no doubt our world class facilities and excellent infrastructure will ensure that the IPL continues to dazzle cricket lovers in the UAE and around the world.”
“The Emirates Cricket Board will now work closely with the IPL’s event management team to deliver 16 games of high quality cricket entertainment."
India’s general elections are scheduled to be held in nine phases between April 7 and May 12. Counting of votes would take place on May 16.
IPL7 is scheduled to start on April 16 and run until June 1. BCCI has said that it will hold the remaining matches in India, after the conclusion of voting on May 12 in India, and will not hold any matches on the counting day (May 16).
“For the period from Thursday May 1 to Monday May 12, BCCI has approached the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, seeking permission to play IPL matches in India in cities where the polling has concluded in the respective state,” the BCCI said.
A detailed match schedule for the Pepsi IPL 2014 season will be sent out soon, the BCCI statement noted, adding: “BCCI is extremely conscious of the various complexities involved, but hopes for a favourable consideration. BCCI will abide by the decision of the authorities in this regard. If it is not possible to play in India during this period (May 1 to 12), IPL matches will be held in Bangladesh and BCCI is thankful to the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the government of Bangladesh for their support.”
Earlier, it was reported that BCCI was considering venues in the UAE, South Africa and Bangladesh for hosting matches before the conclusion of polls in India.
But it emerged that South Africa insisted on holding the entire cash-rich tournament, a request that the organisers did not accede to.
“From Tuesday May 13 (once polling has concluded in all states), the remaining league matches plus the playoffs will be played in India. There will be no matches scheduled on the counting day of Friday, 16th May. BCCI will take the advice of the authorities if any further restrictions are required around the counting day,” the statement noted.
UAE cricket officials had earlier told Emirates 24|7 that the hosting of IPL 7 matches will be a big boost UAE cricket. “UAE is more accessible to cricket fans from India and certainly more cost-effective in comparison to other countries,” said an official speaking on condition of anonymity.
The UAE, which also has the game’s headquarters situated in Dubai, successfully staged the ICC World T20 qualifiers and more recently the ICC Under 19 World Cup.
It has three main stadiums in different cities, which are easily accessible to cricket fans.
Sharjah Cricket holds Guinness Record for staging the most number of one-day internationals. Dubai has the 'Ring of Fire' while Abu Dhabi has the quaint Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Dubai has also been a popular destination for Bollywood stars like Shah Rukh Khan who own Kolkata Knight Riders.
Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty are also co-owners of IPL teams Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals.