South Africa is in line to host the IPL in 2019, as the general elections are scheduled to be held in India during the same time. If the dates of the elections and the cash-rich T20 league clash, the event could be moved to South Africa.
It has already been done once, when the general elections and IPL clashed in 2009 and Lalit Modi, then IPL CEO, took the mega event to South Africa, which became a lot popular in the country. BCCI is currently working on a backup plan in case the same situation occurs a decade later.
If the dates of the nationwide elections clash with the IPL, BCCI has two choices; move the entire event to South Africa, as it happened in 2009 or, partially move the tournament to UAE, as it happened in 2014, where the first half of the tournament was played outside India, with elections going on.
South Africa is also expected to host its own general elections anytime between March and July. If the general elections in India are held early, the IPL in 2019 might stay at home.
For BCCI the organization of the IPL in 2019 is already giving them a headache. 2019 sees the 50 over World Cup beginning in England on May 30th. In line with the Lodha Committee recommendations, as directed by the Supreme Court, the Indian Board will have to ensure a 15-day window between the IPL and the World Cup. That aside, there's the International Cricket Council (ICC) regulation window to follow, which demands that participating nations arrive two weeks in advance.
The 2019 IPL, therefore, could begin anytime between March 15 and 20. "That's the only reason why partial shifting of the IPL out of the country is more of a possibility than entirely shifting the tournament. If that's the case, UAE could be the destination," say sources.
"The only bigger sporting spectacle South Africa has witnessed was the FIFA World Cup. Even the 2003 ICC World Cup here paled in comparison to the excitement that the IPL triggered in 2009," say Cricket South Africa sources about the possibility of IPL 2019 happening in the rainbow nation.
"There was no interest whatsoever. Venues like Kimberley, East London, PE, they're already drying up for lack of any exciting sporting contests. Only an IPL could bring people back to the grounds in these parts," they add.