Security fears force IPL abroad

Mumbai, March 22:

Cricket’s lucrative multi-million dollors Indian Premier League (IPL) will be held abroad this year, organisers said today, blaming the government for being unable to provide security for the showpiece tournament.

An IPL source said South Africa and England were being considered as the new venue for the tournament, whose high-paying contracts have attracted some of the most celebrated players in the game.

Safety has been a major worry after the attacks in Mumbai in November and an attack targeting the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan this month that left eight people dead and eight people from the team wounded.

But the Indian government said it could not lay on additional security because of deployments for national elections being held at almost exactly the same time as the April 10-May 24 tournament.

The tournament, which pits star-studded teams against each other in the short-form Twenty20 format of the game, was eagerly awaited by millions of fans in India after its inaugural event last year proved a huge success.

IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said the 59 matches in the event would be scheduled so that they still fell at 4pm and 8pm in India.