Maharashtra Cricket Bodies to Move SC to Keep IPL in State
New Delhi: Maharashtra Cricket Association and the Mumbai Cricket Association have decided to move Supreme Court to challenge a Bombay High Court order to shift out all IPL matches scheduled to be played in drought-affected Maharashtra after April 30.
“The associations are of the view that moving the matches out will mean a loss for the two franchises—Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants,” said a senior BCCI official, asking not to be named. The Bombay High Court had last week asked the Indian cricket board to shift all matches in the ongoing IPL scheduled to be played in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur to other states after this month on the ground that thousands of litres of water is being used every day to maintain the pitches even as the state is facing one of its worst droughts.
The decision to move the Supreme Court (SC) was taken on Monday and the two associations are expected to file an appeal in the next two days. “They would be hoping to get a stay on the order from the Supreme Court before April 30 which would enable the matches to be played in the state,” said the BCCI official.
The BCCI counsel had told the Bombay High Court that it will only use treated sewage water from the Royal Western India Turf Club, which runs the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai, to maintain the pitches at Mumbai and Pune venues. It had also offered to donate Rs 5 crore to the chief minister’s drought relief fund and had said that it is willing to transport as much water it is using for the grounds to drought-affected areas in the state. The court had, however, decided to ask the cricket board to shift the matches out of the state.
Irrespective of the outcome of the petition in the apex court, BCCI and Mumbai and Pune franchises will go ahead with preparations at the new home grounds outside the state chosen by the two teams. The IPL governing council, after its meeting last week, had given the option of four cities—Kanpur, Raipur, Visakhapatnam and Jaipur—to the two teams. While Sanjiv Goenka-owned Rising Pune Supergiants has chosen Visakhapatnam as its new home ground, Mumbai has picked Jaipur.
The third affected team, Kings XI Punjab, which had three matches in Nagpur, had already taken the decision to move its matches to Dharamshala.
A BCCI team will visit the stadium in Jaipur later this week and since the Rajasthan Cricket Association was suspended by the BCCI earlier, the Rajasthan government’s sports council will be the host association for the matches, said the official. The move to a different city is likely to hit the two teams both monetarily as well as due to the fact that they will lose out home support. The Mumbai team is expected to lose the most from its ticketing revenues as it has the largest number of corporate boxes amongst all IPL stadiums.
According to media sources, the team gets around Rs 3-4 crore per match from ticket sales, including selling corporate boxes. Playing in Jaipur will not get them those kinds of revenues. For Pune, which is a new team and will be in the IPL only for two seasons till suspended teams Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings return, it will be a body blow as it was banking on the support of the home team and also the comparatively bigger stadium at Pune where it was in the process of enhancing its corporate boxes.
Moving the matches out will mean a loss for the 2 franchises — Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants