The tough stand taken by the Mumbai police preventing even Cricket Board officials from entering their own premises inside the Wankhede Stadium during IPL match days if they are without police passes has upset the BCCI which is threatening to shift next month’s two playoff ties from the venue to Bangalore.
“The Board officials are upset with the Mumbai police for insisting that they have to carry police accreditations to enter their own offices (at Cricket Centre inside the Wankhede Stadium).
“The Mumbai Cricket Association has been given three days’ time to sort out this issue with the police or the two semifinal matches (on May 24 and 25) would be shifted to Bangalore,” according to informed sources.
Board secretary N Srinivasan, CAO Prof Ratnakar Shetty and IPL CEO Sundar Raman had been stopped outside the Vinoo Mankad gate and prevented from entering their office parking lot in their car on April 15, when the Wankhede Stadium hosted its first IPL match of the season between Mumbai Indians and Kochi Tuskers Kerala, without police passes.
The matter was raised at the Board’s working committee meeting held on Wednesday.
The police authorities are refusing to recognise valid accreditations issued by the IPL to all categories of people including event broadcasters, other service providers like catering personnel and media without a police pass accompanying it.
The mediapersons, who were without police passes, had to be escorted in by one of the MCA officials into the media enclosure on two match days before police passes were issued to most of them. But even now, a handful is without police authorisation, according to the local association sources.
In fact, the uncompromising stand by the police threatened to blow into a huge controversy ahead of the April 2 World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka when tournament director Prof. Shetty insisted he would not carry a police badge, and instead, buy a ticket and enter the venue.
The matter was sorted out at the last minute with the police authorities relenting, it was learnt.
The two playoff matches would be held amongst the top four finishers at the end of the league stage of the T20 tournament.
Two more playoff ties, including the grand final, are to be held at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Meanwhile, if the matter with the police is not sorted out by the MCA, the association may lose out to the Karnataka State Cricket Association which benefited when the February 27th World Cup tie between India and England was shifted out of Kolkata’s Eden Gardens to Bangalore’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium by the International Cricket Council.