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IPL’s opening exchanges to be hosted outside India

The first half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket tournament will be staged outside India after the country’s government said that it cannot provide security for the event owing to a clash with the general election.

Following a meeting between India’s Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials, the government said it will not be able to provide security to IPL matches during the elections that are planned to be held in April and May.

The Home Ministry is said to have told the BCCI that the IPL can only be played in India after May 11. IPL organisers are yet to draw up a final schedule for the tournament, which has an operating window of April 9 to June 3. “Due to the general elections, it will be difficult to provide adequate security to the IPL matches,” Shinde said, according to the Hindustan Times newspaper.

IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal said organisers will now choose between South Africa and the UAE to stage the first half of the 2014 league. He told the Economic Times newspaper: “The Home Ministry has declined security for IPL. The first half of the tournament will have to be held abroad. We will be speaking to the cricket boards over the next few days to see what facilities and security they are willing to offer.”

South Africa has experience of hosting the IPL after the 2009 tournament was moved to the country, also because of security concerns arising from a general election that year.