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Kalmadi calls for IPL postponement
Published on 16 Mar. 2009 10:10 PM IST
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The Indian Olympic Association wants the Indian Premier League to be deferred till the general elections are over as any untoward incident during the Twenty20 cricket event could raise serious security concerns for the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games. The second edition of the IPL, starting April 10, has come under a cloud of uncertainty in the aftermath of last year’s Mumbai terror strikes and the attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore on March 3. To compound problems, the IPL coincides with the general elections and the Home Ministry has already made it clear that it cannot provide paramilitary forces for the event during the elections. “IPL should be postponed because a lot of state governments have also said it is not the right time and they need paramilitary forces which I think the government can’t give,” IOA President Suresh Kalmadi said on Monday. “So, if there is a severe incident during the IPL matches, I think it will have repercussions on the Commonwealth Games itself,” he added. He, however, rubbished claims that the Delhi Games was in jeopardy following the security concerns raised by participating nations after the Lahore incident, saying the security arrangement for the event would be a very tight. “We had many meetings with the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, who is responsible for security and the Secretary of the Home Ministry. With every incident, our security has been upgraded,” Kalmadi said. Kalmadi’s statement came close on the heels of Australian Commonwealth Games Association Chief Executive Perry Crosswhite’s remark that his nation could pull out of the event if security was not addressed properly. However, the IOA President said the organisers have learnt useful lessons from both the unfortunate incident and will leave no stone unturned in the security of the athletes. “The Lt. Governor was in Beijing to study the security of the Olympics. A fortnight back, the security official of the Commonwealth Games visited New Delhi and gave us his feedback. He will be visiting every six months and we would work on his feedback,” Kalmadi said. “We also went to Singapore to talk with a few security companies,” he added. Although, the construction of infrastructure for the Games are running behind schedule, Kalmadi assured that the work would be completed by the due date of December 31, 2009 except the velodrome, which would be completed by March. The IOA chief also ruled out the introduction of cricket in the Commonwealth Games. “No cricket please. Cricket is played in just 10 countries while the Olympic Games are played in more than 200 countries across the world. I want the youth of this country to come up in Olympic Games”, Kalmadi said. “Cricket is a national obsession. If we do bring in the cricket, all attention would shift from the other disciplines. Of course, cricket would help us generate more revenues but that is not our priority,” he added.

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