The home minister has said the IPL can go ahead with a revised schedule but preparations for the second edition of the T20 extravaganza are far from being in place. IPL officials, in fact, suggest only 10 per cent of the work has been done so far.
Consider the logistics. Matches are now going to be held across 14 cities instead of nine. This means more traveling, lesser matches for franchisees to host on their home grounds, dealing with more state associations of the BCCI and police and civic authorities.
The IPL commissioner may have envisioned a scenario like this and had therefore increased the number of crews and kits to produce and telecast the tournament. However, with only a month to go, to host matches in Nagpur, for instance, can still prove to be a cumbersome exercise.
This could in turn lead to local sponsors of the tournament wanting to revise their contracts with franchisees. Jaipur, for example, is not hosting the inaugural match of the tournament and therefore a few of their sponsors might want to reconsider the contract drawn earlier. Mumbai, who now host the all-important inaugural tie, might see themselves revising their paper-work with the local sponsors.
Then there are the central sponsors. WSG-Sony, which owns the telecast rights, or even other on-ground sponsors will be looking to do a quick review of advertisement slots that have already been sold. In case the matches to be played in the evening from 8 pm onwards are shifted to the 4 pm schedule – which means being moved from prime time television – advertisers will definitely look to reduce the money being paid for a ten-second slot. ‘‘The rates for the 4 pm schedule will be nearly half of what an 8 pm match can demand,’’ says a franchise official.
These are issues that the IPL’s governing council will need to work on urgently once the schedule is out.
While these issues are being taken care of, there’s another responsibility to cater to. Player associations from across the world have supported their parent body – the Federation of International Cricketers (FICA) – regarding requests for an independent security review.
Tim May, the FICA chief executive, told TOI that he has ‘‘already shot off an email to the BCCI asking that they be allowed to be a part of the security check programme that is being put in place.’’ The body wants to sit with the Indian board and discuss security measures in advance and unless that is done, foreign players will be apprehensive.
While nothing has come out of the interaction as yet, BCCI, for the record, doesn’t recognize the FICA.