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India moves IPL offshore

NEW DELHI: India has been forced to move part of its domestic Twenty20 cricket competition to the United Arab Emirates and possibly Bangladesh due to a clash with elections, organisers said Wednesday.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) season will start on April 16 just days after the beginning of the country’s general elections, a statement from the organisers said.

The Indian government has informed IPL organisers that security forces are needed for the world’s biggest elections, which run until May 12 and cannot be diverted for the cricket competition.

As a result, organisers have moved at least the first 16 matches to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from April 16 to 30 at venues still to be decided, according to the tentative schedule.

The IPL season — which starts 10 days after the conclusion of the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh — ends with the final on June 1, the statement said.

The second phase of the competition from May 1 to 12 could be held in Bangladesh if the Indian government rejects organisers’ request to hold matches in specific Indian states once polling there ends.

The third phase of the tournament after May 12 will be held in India, with the provision that no match be organised on May 16, when vote counting and election results are expected to be announced.

The detailed schedule will be announced later, organisers said.

The second edition of the IPL in 2009 had been shifted entirely to South Africa since the dates of the tournament also clashed with parliamentary elections that year.

International news organisations, including Agence France-Presse (AFP), have suspended their on-field coverage of matches hosted by the BCCI since 2012 after the board imposed restrictions on picture agencies.

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