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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Indian Premier League asked to avoid clash with general elections

NEW DELHI — Indian politician Palaniappan Chidambaram has asked the organizers of the twenty20 Indian Premier League to avoid a clash of dates with the country's general elections.

Chidambaram, the federal home minister who is charge of policing, said Tuesday that he wanted the IPL organizers to postpone the event as he did not want to "juggle security between elections and cricket matches."

"We're concerned about the security arrangements. We'll talk to the IPL organizers," Chidambaram told Indian television. "Cricket is safe in India. If the IPL clashes with elections, I don't want my forces to be stretched."

The IPL is scheduled to be held from April 10 to May 24, while the elections for the Indian Parliament's lower house will be staged across the country in five different phases between April 16 and May 13.

Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman and a vice-president of the Indian cricket board, said the IPL dates were set but the matches would be scheduled in a manner so they don't clash with elections in a particular state or city on the polling dates there.

"I agree that the IPL matches should be structured around the elections, we've taken that into account from Day 1," Modi said from Macau. "We're not going to compromise with security, but will work with government and go ahead with tournament."

IPL director Dhiraj Malhotra said there was no possibility of starting the tournament after the elections had concluded on May 13.

"Unfortunately, there's no window to shift the IPL," Malhotra said, adding that the IPL organizers would "prepare a new schedule and share it with the government."

"We can work around the dates of the voting as long as we can convince the government."

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