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Shift all IPL matches out of Maharashtra after Apr 30, Bombay HC tells BCCI

Bombay High Court orders all IPL matches after April 30 be shifted elsewhere in view of drought in the state


BS Reporter/ PTI  |  Mumbai 

Groundsmen water the pitch at the Wankhede stadium ahead of IPL matches in Mumbai. Photo: PTI

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday ordered that all Indian Premier League (IPL) matches scheduled in Maharashtra after April 30 be shifted elsewhere in view of the severe drought in the state.

This gives the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) 18 days to look for new venues for 13 matches in May, including the final in Mumbai on May 29.

The order came despite an assurance by the BCCI that IPL franchises of Mumbai and Pune had agreed to contribute Rs 5 crore to the chief minister’s drought relief fund.

The court said: “We agree that merely shifting of IPL matches out of the state will not be a solution but this can be a beginning to address the drought situation in Maharashtra. Several people are dying because of water scarcity in the state. This court cannot ignore the plight of such people.”

Sources close to both the Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants said the team promoters were now waiting to sit with the BCCI to chart the way forward.

“In 2014, when the IPL moved to Dubai for the first leg of the season, the BCCI had, after consulting the teams, agreed to partly compensate the added expenses on the teams for travelling and staying abroad. Both teams expect a similar resolution,” said an executive.

The loss of revenue for the teams will become clearer when new venues are decided. As a rule, if a team is unable to play at its home stadium for any reason, the ground that the match shifts to becomes the team’s home ground for that period.

For example, if Mumbai Indians’ matches are held at Eden Gardens, the Kolkata ground will be treated as Mumbai Indians’ home ground and the proceeds from the gate revenues will go to the Mumbai team, as they would have at the Wankhede Stadium.

“One of the main things that the teams would want to discuss with the BCCI is the new venues. There has to be some following of the Mumbai and Pune teams at the new venues,” said another executive close to the development.

The court order came on a public interest litigation filed by non-government organisation Loksatta Movement, which challenged the use of more than six million litres of water for ground-management, despite Maharashtra facing drought. It had wanted all the matches shifted out of the state.

The court also noted that several districts in Maharashtra were not even getting water for sanitation and other purposes, and the non-potable water being used by the stadiums to maintain pitches can be of use in such districts. “In such cases, one would have expected the BCCI and other respondents (Maharashtra Cricket Association and Bombay Cricket Association) to come forward on their own and shift the matches out of Maharashtra. However, unfortunately, nothing has been done. This court has now no other option than to direct the BCCI to transfer matches out of Maharashtra.”

All matches to be held from April 30 onwards in Maharashtra will have to be shifted to another state. We are giving the authorities 15 days to make all necessary arrangements.”

After April 30, 13 matches were scheduled to be held in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.

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First Published: Thu, April 14 2016. 07:00 IST