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IPL likely to begin on March 29 next year

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/cricket/news/ipl-likely-to-begin-on-march-29-next-year/articleshow/64408995.cms

It is not just the Indian political fraternity which is waiting to see whether the central government will push for early Lok Sabha elections heading into 2019. The BCCI – which has to take a call on the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League(IPL) – is also waiting with bated breath.

The cricket board is stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Given that the 2019 50-over ICC World Cup is scheduled to begin on May 30, the IPL cannot be delayed.

In fact, if the Lodha recommendation of respecting a 15-day break between the IPL and any cricket tournament is adhered to, and if the ICC regulation for participating teams to remain available for promotions two weeks before the start of the tournament is kept in perspective, the BCCI has little choice but to conclude the 2019 IPL by the middle of May.

Keeping this in mind, the BCCI has zeroed in on March 29, 2019 as the starting date of the IPL’s 12th edition, TOI has learned. However, World Cup deadline is only part of the problem for BCCI. Those in the know of things say, “If the centre doesn’t call for early Lok Sabha elections, the board will have to seriously consider its options over the IPL.”

 

The last three general elections in India have been held between the months of April and May. In fact, the 2014 general election – one that was held over nine electoral phases – turned out to be one of the longest elections the country had ever seen and a similar duration can be expected for the next Lok Sabha polls.

“The IPL – under the new set of contracts and revenue models – is going to be a billion-dollar entity every season. There’s a lot at stake for many who are committed to the league. Moreover, there’s absolute unanimity among stakeholders that as much as possible, they’d like the league to be played in India, not abroad,” sources said. In 2009, the BCCI had moved IPL to South Africa because of the general elections but the move proved troublesome for the board because it failed to gather the required clearance from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on transfer of funds – to conduct the tournament abroad.

 

In 2014, BCCI had to shift the IPL again because of the general elections – this time to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – but only for a period of 19 days, before moving back to India for the rest of the tournament. “However, the 2019 general elections is going to be unlike any other in the past given the scale and stakes. IPL stakeholders will definitely want to know in advance if the 2019 edition can potentially clash with the elections. Planning in advance will be the key,” said a tournament stakeholder.

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