New Delhi: United Arab Emirates will stage the initial phase of the IPL while Bangladesh was kept on standby for some of the matches by the BCCI, ending weeks of speculation over the venues of the high-profile event which was today scheduled from April 16 to June 1.
The tournament, which had to be partly shifted out of the country owing to the general elections, will return to India for the final phase from May 13 though the BCCI has sought the government`s permission to stage matches in the country from May 1 itself.
The early return to India would be possible only if the government agrees to provide security to the tournament in states where polling would have concluded at that stage. "The BCCI is pleased to announce that the 2014 Pepsi IPL season will start on Wednesday 16th April 2014, and conclude on Sunday, 1st June 2014," Board Secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement.
The initial phase of the tournament would be played out at three venues in the UAE -- Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah from April 16 to 30. "From Wednesday 16th April to Wednesday 30th April, 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 Mabarak Al Nahayan, and the government of the UAE for their offer of wholehearted support to host the Pepsi IPL for this period," the BCCI stated.
The second half has been tentatively kept in Bangladesh but could be held in India if the BCCI manages to get the government`s clearance.
"For the period from Thursday 1st May to Monday 12th May, 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."
"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, IPL matches will be held in Bangladesh and BCCI is thankful to the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the government of Bangladesh for their support," the Board said.
But there is no ambiguity for the final leg, which will be held in the country. "From Tuesday 13th May (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.
"A detailed match schedule for the Pepsi IPL 2014 season will be sent out soon," the BCCI said. The general elections are scheduled to be held in nine phases from April 7 to May 12, owing to which the government had refused to provide security for the IPL.
This is the second time that the event has had to be forced out of the country due to elections. In 2009, the entire tournament had to be shifted to South Africa, a country which was in contention to host the event even this time. The BCCI officials and IPL Chairman Ranjeeb Biswal had been holding discussions with the Home Ministry for the past few days to work out the schedule of the league which will have eight teams this time around.
Due to the lesser number of teams, the duration of the league has also been shortened this time to 47 days and 60 matches -- much less than the 76 games played last season which was spread over 54 days.