Kolkata: The Indian Premier League has been not just one of the most successful domestic T20 leagues in the world, but it has also provided youngsters an opportunity to rub shoulders with the stalwarts of the game and spend time with them in the same dressing room. But the fixing fiasco in 2013 took some sheen off the cash-rich league and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) feels that having the opening ceremony of this year’s IPL just 90 minutes before the first game of the season between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium could once again open the gates for potential fixers to get up close and personal to the players.
According to the itinerary on April 7, the organisers are expected to end the opening ceremony at 7:15pm, and the field of play needs to be cleared up by 7:30pm, as the two captains – Rohit Sharma and Mahendra Singh Dhoni – will then come out for the toss. Meanwhile, it has also been clearly mentioned that the two teams will come onto the field to train at 7:15pm and one of the bowling ends needs to be kept clear so that it doesn’t hamper the teams’ preparations.
This clearly means that all those who come in to remove the props and other materials like makeshift stages, get to stay on the ground for 15 minutes with the two teams – from 7:15 till 7:30. This is clearly a long enough time for any of those staff working for the event organisers to try and approach players. And this is exactly what worries the BCCI as they don’t wish to take any undue risk as 100s of workers and crew members will be on the field of play.
Speaking to CricketNext, a senior BCCI official said that treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry has in fact written to the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) asking them to look into the matter and ensure that there is no scope for possible fixers to act as workers or crew members and approach the players as those working to clear the field of play after the show would have 15 minutes with the cricketers before the game gets underway.
“As I had stated in the IPL GC, the existence of close to 1000 additional people (workers, crew etc.) on the ground shortly before the game is to be played there may be an anti corruption risk that we must be aware of in order to mitigate that risk. This is a thought for the consideration of all of you. This communication is of course subject to any decision or view of the Committee of Administrators,” the treasurer’s letter – in possession of the reporter — reads.
The BCCI official said that it was indeed a genuine concern now that the CoA has decided that the opening will be held on April 7 with the likes of Ranveer Singh, Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez and Parineeti Chopra performing at the Wankhede Stadium. “The most important section where the captains take pledge to abide by the spirit of the game is anyway being signed the previous day. So, it doesn’t make sense why the opening is being hosted prior to the match. With so many people on the field of play wearing accreditations, it will indeed be very easy for any tout to mix in the crowd and pose as an official, to clear the ground post the opening ceremony. The CoA must look into this and ensure top security to keep dubious people out of sight,” he said.