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Modi threatens to shift IPL matches from Jaipur

February 16, 2009 20:13 IST

Embroiled in a series of legal battles, and facing dissent in his home association, Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi has threatened to shift the Twenty20 matches out of Jaipur, saying the recent FIRs lodged against him are "politically motivated".

Modi said he has been authorised by the IPL Governing council to decide on the venue of the IPL matches and shifting them from Jaipur is an option being considered.

"It is going to deter the IPL management from staging matches (in Jaipur). The Governing Council has already taken a decision authorising me to decide whether we should be able to hold matches anywhere, whether it's one place or x, y, z," Modi told reporters in Mumbai on Monday.

"The option to move matches (out of Jaipur) is available to us. We are looking at alternate venues without doubt. If any government anywhere is going to deter the IPL management from staging matches we would take away those matches and hold them elsewhere," he added.

A case of cheating was lodged against Modi at a Jaipur police station on Sunday for alleged failure to deposit the entire Rs six crore he publicly promised the Jaipur bomb blasts' victims in the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.

Modi, however, dismissed the accusations as the state government's ploy to harass him.

"The FIR against me specifically in relation to IPL yesterday is ill-conceived and looks to be politically motivated. Nowhere are complaints registered in the morning and turned into FIRs in the afternoon," Modi said.

"Every time they file one it is without substance," he fumed.

He said the IPL is only a facilitator towards donating the Rs 6 crore promised by the League's franchises and other sponsors and it cannot be held responsible for any lapses.

"Already a sum of Rs 5.2 crore has been deposited into the CM's Relief Fund and others who had pledged to do so in the wake of the Jaipur bomb blast, I'm told, are doing so," said Modi, also president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association.

"We all felt sorry for what happened and wanted to help. The IPL is only a facilitator."

The FIR was lodged by an NGO, Nagrik Morcha.

Modi is also facing charges for allegedly acquiring a piece of land in Nagaur district through unfair means. He has been questioned by police in this regard.

He is also embroiled in a power struggle in the RCA against secretary Subhash Joshi and few district associations which have put up a united front against him.

Modi said Rajasthan Royals, by virtue of winning the IPL in the first season, were given the choice of hosting the final at a venue of their choice and they opted for Mumbai, and specifically the Cricket Club of India.

"From this year the IPL would be directly dealing with the final and semi-finals and we have a revenue sharing formula with the franchises.

Rajasthan Royals have opted for Mumbai to host the final and their first choice is CCI and the second option we have given is D Y Patil Stadium (in Navi Mumbai)," he said.

The IPL chairman said in case the CCI, which is to decide on the issue through an EGM on February 27, is ruled out and Royals do not want to host it at D Y Patil then they can conduct the match outside Mumbai.

As per their contractual obligations with sponsors, a major chunk of the CCI pavilion seats would have to be reserved for the IPL, which is against the existing CCI constitution, according to Modi.

"That's why they are having the EGM. We have told them we would give their members 5000 seats in the West Stand but we need a major chunk of seats in the pavilion for ourselves to fulfill out contractual obligations with franchises and sponsors," he said.

Modi said as far as league ties are concerned, the respective franchises will take away the entire gate collections and they are fully authorised to deal with the match staging authorities like the CCI.

"For hosting their seven home matches, Mumbai Indians have the option of playing them at the CCI or D Y Patil as per their discretion. Their requirement is very different to ours (IPL's). All the revenues (of league ties) would go to team owners," he said.

Modi said currently the IPL is looking at 11 venues, two in Mumbai and one each in other seven home cities of the franchisees, apart from Cuttack and Ahmedabad.

"Currently there are 11 venues. There are two in Mumbai nd one each in other seven cities (Jaipur, Chennai, Mohali, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad). One franchise is looking out for another venue within India or overseas," he said.

The IPL chief said the venues for hosting the second IPL season in April-May would be decided soon.

"In the next few days they would be decided," he said.

He also said that Chennai Super Kings, by virtue of having finished runners-up, have the option of staging the two semi-finals in the second season and they have decided to stage both in their home city.

Modi said that the IPL will resolve the dispute between Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group-controlled BIG TV, which has withdrawn from its partnership with the IPL as its ground sponsors, and the League's broadcast rights holders Sony Entertainment Television by tomorrow.

"I don't know the details, but we hope we can settle it by tomorrow. We cannot allow our ground sponsors getting an unfair deal on air. We will go to the bottom of this. Sony has to comply with our contractual obligations," he said.

BIG TV complained to the IPL that SET has decided to offer the contract to its competitor Bharti Airtel despite the latter having quoted a lower price for on-air agreement.

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