IPL 7: Sports Ministry questions BCCI on finalising ‘non-regular’ UAE as venue

Indian Premier League

New Delhi, April 4: The sports ministry Friday asked the Indian cricket board why non-regular venues in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were selected ahead of regular ones for Indian Premier League (IPL) matches and what steps are being taken to check match-fixing and betting.

The ministry in a letter to Ratnakar Shetty, chief administrator of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said the responsibility of dealing with betting and match-fixing during IPL will rest with BCCI.

The letter was in response to Shetty’s missive to the ministry dated March 20 for obtaining permission to host the first-leg of the IPL in UAE due to general elections at home. UAE, which has a significant Indian diaspora, will host 20 IPL matches April 16-30. The IPL will, however, return to India from May 2 for the remaining 36 matches.

The ministry asked the BCCI to reply by April 10 why “a non-regular venue has been selected for holding some matches of IPL-2014 instead of choosing a venue which is on the regular international calendar of the ICC”. The government had banned the national team for playing in Sharjah, one of the three IPL venues in UAE, in the wake of the match-fixing scandal in 2001. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the two other IPL venues.

The ministry also asked BCCI what mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that unethical practices like betting and match-fixing, etc. do not take place during this year IPL. Last year’s edition was plagued with allegations of match-fixing and betting that saw two cricketers being banned for life and BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan forced to step down by the Supreme Court.

The ministry also asked the BCCI how much licence fees it has paid to ICC for this year’s IPL. The ministry also made it clear that the BCCI is required to contribute towards the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF). “The amount of contribution to NSDF may please be specified which may be based on either the percentage of profit from IPL 2014 or consolidated lump sum,” the ministry letter read.