JOHANNESBURG, (Reuters) – South Africa will host the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) next month after the Twenty20 competition was moved out of India due to security reasons, the IPL said yesterday.
“We know that there were a lot of disappointed fans in India that the tournament could not be staged there, but I am confident that the tournament will be a massive success staged in South Africa,” IPL chairman Lalit Modi told a news conference following a meeting of the event’s organisers and Cricket South Africa (CSA).
England was also considered as an alternative venue for the competition, which will start on April 18 and end on May 24, but Modi said South Africa was chosen because of the favourable weather there in April and May.
Modi said moving the tournament out of India involved a logistical headache.
“We will have to start from zero and move the single largest tournament in the world in just 25 days. It means moving a thousand people, but we needed to go forward regardless of cost because the game is more important and the show must go on.
“We have to organise 400 hotel rooms per night as well as more than 10,000 airline tickets, plus all the visas, all of which takes time,” he added.
The Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) was forced to move the IPL abroad after it failed to get government clearance for security cover because the tournament, which was due to run from April 10 to May 24, clashed with the country’s general elections.
Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola said: “The organisers can be assured that they have the full support of CSA’s structures and the South African public to stage a successful tournament. This is a great compliment to both CSA and our nation to be shown this confidence in our ability to hold one of the world’s top sporting events at short notice.
“This event will strengthen the ties even further between South African and Indian cricket, as well as binding our nations even closer together,” Majola added.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive David Collier recognised South Africa was “a more practical choice in the timescale available” to host the tournament.
“We wish the IPL every success in South Africa and are grateful for the letter of thanks we have received from the BCCI for the assistance and support we offered to IPL,” Collier said in an ECB statement.
The IPL tournament will feature 59 matches and the fixtures will be announced shortly.