The first two weeks of the 2014 Indian Premier League will be played in the United Arab Emirates, after the Board of Control for Cricket in India was forced to shift the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament outside the country because of the Lok Sabha elections in April-May.
The BCCI also announced that Bangladesh has been kept on standby for some of the matches, in case it is unable to get the government's clearance to hold the T20 matches in India from May 1 to 12.
The seventh edition of the tournament will start on April 16 and conclude on June 1.
"The BCCI is pleased to announce that the 2014 Pepsi IPL season will start on Wednesday 16th April 2014, and conclude on Sunday, 1st June 2014," BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said.
The initial phase of the tournament will be played at three venues in the UAE -- Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, from April 16 to 30.
"From Wednesday 16th April to Wednesday 30th April, at least 16 matches will be held in the United Arab Emirates. BCCI is very grateful to the Emirates Cricket Board, its Chairman, HH Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, and the government of the UAE for their offer of wholehearted support to host the Pepsi IPL for this period," the BCCI said.
The second half has been tentatively kept in Bangladesh, but could be held in India if the BCCI gets the government's nod.
"For the period from Thursday 1st May to Monday 12th May, BCCI has approached the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, seeking permission to play IPL matches in India in cities where the polling has concluded in the respective state.
"BCCI is extremely conscious of the various complexities involved, but hopes for a favourable consideration. BCCI will abide by the decision of the authorities in this regard. If it is not possible to play in India during this period, IPL matches will be held in Bangladesh and BCCI is thankful to the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the government of Bangladesh for their support," it added.
There are no matches scheduled on the counting day, May 16.
"From Tuesday 13th May (once polling has concluded in all states), the remaining league matches plus the Playoffs will be played in India. There will be no matches scheduled on the counting day of Friday, 16th May. BCCI will take the advice of the authorities if any further restrictions are required around the counting day," said Patel.
The general elections are scheduled to be held in nine phases from April 7 to May 12, owing to which the government has refused to provide security for the IPL.
This is the second time that the event has been forced out of the country due to elections.
In 2009, the entire tournament had to be shifted to South Africa. The country which was in contention to host the event this time too.
BCCI officials and IPL chairman Ranjeeb Biswal held discussions with the Home Ministry over the past few days to work out the schedule of the league, which will have eight teams this time around.
Due to the lesser number of teams, the duration of the league has also been shortened to 47 days and 60 matches, much less than the 76 games played last season, which was spread over 54 days.
A detailed match schedule for IPL 7 will be sent out soon, the BCCI said.