The Union sports ministry has categorically told the BCCI to ensure that the seventh edition of the IPL is a clean event.
In a letter, the ministry has said it has no objection in giving clearance to the board's proposal of conducting matches overseas but "the responsibility to deal with betting and match-fixing will rest with BCCI".
Sources in the ministry told dna on condition of anonymity that "this letter has been written in order to make BCCI aware that conducting matches in UAE could well again put credibility of the game in doubt".
This is also the first time that the government has taken cognisance of malpractice in the IPL and since the matter will come up for hearing in the Supreme Court on April 16 (the day the league starts in the UAE), the BCCI could well consider it a warning.
"The ministry has no objection from sports angle for conducting the above mentioned event at 'No Cost to Government', subject to clearance from ministry of external affairs and ministry of home affairs. BCCI may approach the said ministries directly for obtaining their clearances," The ministry has written in reference to the BCCI's letter dated March 20 asking for permission to hold part of the league in the UAE.
"We've been getting a lot of complaints. No everyone is happy with the BCCI's decision to hold the IPL in the UAE. The government had banned the Indian team for playing in Sharjah, the hotbed of fixing. Why is the BCCI taking the league there all of a sudden? This has disappointed cricket lovers as well as the sports ministry," said a senior official. "Why has the BCCI chosen a non-regular venue for holding some matches of the IPL? They could have chosen a venue which is on the regular international calendar of the ICC."
Further, the ministry has also asked the BCCI to explain that "what mechanisms" it has put in place to ensure that unethical practices like betting and match-fixing etc. do not take place in the IPL?
It remains to be seen how the BCCI reacts to this communique from the ministry. The ministry has also reminded the BCCI to not forget to make its contribution to the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) after the IPL
FICA raises banner of revolt
The Federation of International Cricketers' Association (FICA) on Friday demanded that N Srinivasan step aside from all functions pertaining to the International Cricket Council (ICC). In a statement FICA executive chairman Paul Marsh said it was imperative that the ICC board act strongly in response to the situation involving Srinivasan. "While we are pleased that Mr Srinivasan, at the behest of the Supreme Court, has agreed to step down from his duties as BCCI president, we are of the firm belief that he should not be exercising any functions on behalf of the ICC either, while any investigations concerning his conduct or that of his company are pending or unresolved," Marsh said. "The ICC needs to put the reputation of the game and confidence in its procedures first.
The players, and other stakeholders in the game, are entitled to expect this from the ICC's executive board. Under the current circumstances, the prospect of Mr Srinivasan taking the highest posting in world cricket while these matters are unresolved, is an impossible one." However, Srinivasan is all set to attend the ICC's executive board meeting in Dubai on April 9 and 10. He is also expected to take over as ICC chairman in June.