On what is being considered as a huge blow to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Indian Premier League (IPL), the Bombay High Court on Wednesday ordered that all IPL matches, scheduled to be held in Maharashtra after April 30, have to be shifted out of the state due to concerning drought situation.
Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur — these three venues in Maharashtra are slotted to host matches in this edition of IPL. Now, the board has to find alternative venues for the remaining league matches of Mumbai Indians, Rising Pune Super Giants and Kings Eleven Punjab (They were scheduled to play three home’ games at Nagpur) in the month of May.
Around 13 IPL matches were scheduled to be held after April 30 which included three matches in Nagpur, six in Pune and four in Mumbai. Also the state is scheduled to host three playoff games, including the all important final. However, after the court order these matches have to be shifted as well. Cricwizz has learnt Kanpur, Ranchi and Indore have been shortlisted as alternative venues for the league games. Decision on venues of three play-off games will be taken later.
“It will be better off that matches are held outside state. We cannot ignore the plight of the people. State government has to monitor whether what has been assured is being done,” Bombay High Court told the BCCI.
Quoting a letter from Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) the BCCI lawyer on Wednesday, mentioned during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which opposes IPL matches in drought-hit Maharashtra, that shifting matches would be a ‘logistical nightmare and a financial problem’. the counsel of Pune franchise said that the franchise’s brand value would take a hit if the matches were played in the city.
During the hearing , the Pune franchise counsel said, “If the matches are moved out, the entire balance of the brand value will get disturbed.”
“If the matches are moved out there will be no support of home crowd. The franchise will ensure that it sends the same quantity of water to drought-affected areas. There are seven matches scheduled in Pune and if the matches are organised at the stadium it will bring about the support of home crowd and enhance brand value of the team and the tournament.”
However the court was not convinced with these arguments and finally gave its judgment in favour of the petitioner of the PIL.