Rajasthan Royals home stadium sealed off just a month ahead of IPL 2024 due to...

Rajasthan Royals' home venue, Sawai Man Singh Stadium has been sealed by the State's Sports Council one month before the start of the 2024 season.

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One month ahead of hosting Indian Premier League matches, the Sawai Man Singh Stadium has been officially sealed by the Rajasthan Sports Council. The council asserted that the state cricket body, the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA), failed to meet its obligations, including the settlement of outstanding payments.

Both the RCA's office and its academy, along with the stadium, were subject to the seal by the Rajasthan Sports Council. Sohan Ram Choudhary, the secretary of the council, issued a notice to the RCA on Friday, demanding the transfer of the property to the state council. However, this transfer did not materialize, leading the state sports council to seal the properties due to the RCA's alleged failure to meet the conditions outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and failure to clear outstanding dues.

Choudhary explained, 'We had sent them (RCA) numerous notices, but there was no reply from their end. They only replied to increase the MoU to 10 years (from eight years). They had liabilities and they did not fulfil them.'

He further stated, 'We have sat down with RCA to find a solution. They received approximately Rs 200 crores but told us that they haven't received the sum. They had a lot of money during the Rajasthan Premier League but they did not adhere to the MoU and did not deposit the money, that's why we had to take this step.'

Despite the seal, Choudhary assured that the venue would still host IPL matches and all other scheduled games. He emphasized that the premises were taken back by the council and reiterated the assurance that IPL matches and other national and international matches would proceed as planned, with players receiving all necessary facilities.

RCA president Vaibhav Gehlot countered, alleging that the move seemed politically motivated, and criticized the insufficient time given for a response. Gehlot stated, 'The pending dues are old, Rs 8 crore is outstanding but suddenly sealing (because of) that old case and that too before the IPL shows political malice. This should not have happened. We were not given full time, the time given was less than two days, there should not be politics in sports but politics is happening which is not right.'

Gehlot mentioned that the RCA would consult its lawyers to determine the steps it would take in this matter. The Sawai Man Singh Stadium is scheduled to host the local team Rajasthan Royals' opening match against Lucknow Super Giants on March 24, with the second game on March 28 between Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals. The IPL 2024 schedule was only announced for the first two weeks and 21 matches due to the upcoming general elections.

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