Desperate to keep a bulk of the Indian Premier League matches in India, the BCCI on Friday decided to wait till the announcement of the dates of general elections before finalising the venues of the Twenty20 mega-event, a part of which will have to be held abroad due to security issues. (IPL matches will be transparent, says Ranjib Biswal)
The BCCI's working committee met in Bhubaneswar on Friday to discuss the matter days after the Home Ministry made it clear that it would not be able to provide security for the event due to the elections set for April-May.
The elections are set to clash with the IPL window, which has been kept from April 9 to June 3. (BCCI to earn close to USD 600 million in 2015-23, says secretary Sanjay Patel)
"A final decision on IPL venues will be taken after getting the schedule of general elections," BCCI president N. Srinivasan said after the meeting here.
"If necessary, part of the matches would be played abroad. IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal has informed that South Africa, Bangladesh and UAE have expressed interest to host the matches," he told reporters.
While South Africa is the front-runner having had the experience of hosting the second season of IPL, United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also among the countries being considered for the event to be held between April 9 to June 3 window.
But the BCCI is keen to keep a majority of the matches in India due to immense pressure from the sponsors.
South Africa has the best facilities to host an event of IPL's magnitude. Their strained relationship with the BCCI notwithstanding, South Africa have the best grounds and the timing of the matches would suit the Indian TV viewers.
UAE is also favourable venue as they now have two more stadiums apart from the Sharjah ground in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively.
The logistical problems are also a bit on the lesser side if the tournament is taken to the Emirates as travelling involved would be a lot less.
But the flip side of organising the tournament in UAE is the cloud of bookies and match-fixing which the Emirates is notorious for. India never travelled there after the 2000 match-fixing scandal broke out.
UAE is considered a hotbed for bookies and gamblers and the Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) officials might find it tough to monitor the players from eight franchises at the same time.
Bangladesh is one venue which has seen reservations from some of the senior members of the IPL governing council as the cities have limited five or seven star hotels. Also the corruption and match-fixing fiasco during the Bangladesh Premier League has not been forgotten.
On to the corruption charges against the IPL, Srinivasan chose to skirt the issue.
"BCCI is taking all steps to prevent fixing," he said.
On reports that the Indian team's coaching staff is set to be changed following the recent debacles in South Africa and New Zealand, Srinivasan said, "I don't know how it got into media. The issue was not even discussed."