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Police rigidity could rob Mumbai of IPL play-offs

April 27, 2011 16:47 IST

The Board of Control for Cricket in India is threatening to shift two of next month's IPL play-off matches from the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai to Bangalore.

The tough stance follows the Mumbai police's decision to disallow even BCCI officials from entering their premises inside the Wankhede stadium during IPL match days if they are without police clearance passes.

"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).

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"The Mumbai Cricket Association has been given three days' time to sort out the issue with the police failing which the two semi-final matches (on May 24 and 25) will be shifted to Bangalore," said BCCI sources.

Board secretary N Srinivasan, Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty and IPL CEO Sundar Raman were 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 in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Police authorities are refusing to recognise valid accreditations issued by the IPL to all categories of people, including event broadcasters, service providers like catering personnel and media, without a police pass accompanying it.

Media persons without police passes had to be escorted to the media enclosure by one of the MCA officials on two match days before police passes were issued to most of them. But, even now, a handful of them are without police authorisation, according to the local association sources.

In fact, the uncompromising stand by the police threatened to blow over into a huge controversy ahead of the April 2 World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka when Shetty, who was the tournament director, insisted he would not carry a police badge, but 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 play-off matches will be played between the top four finishers at the end of the league stage of the T20 tournament.

Two more play-off ties, including the grand final, are to be held at Chennai's M A 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.

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