According to reports, the next edition of IPL in 2019, IPL 12 may begin early, possibly from March 29, to accommodate the general elections that are going to take place next year. This is due to the possibility of the current central government pushing for early Lok Sabha elections.
However, BCCI is stuck in a conundrum, as the ICC World Cup 2019 is scheduled to begin at May 30, meaning that IPL cannot be delayed even a day. BCCI might have to conclude the IPL in mid May, if it has to abide by the Lodha Committee recommendation of respecting a 15-day break between the IPL and any cricket tournament is adhered to, and if the ICC regulation for participating teams to remain available for promotions two weeks before the start of the tournament is kept in perspective.
With this in mind, BCCI has zeroed in on March 29 as the start date of IPL 12. Those in the know of things said to TOI, “If the centre doesn’t call for early Lok Sabha elections, the board will have to seriously consider its options over the IPL.”
The last three general elections in India have been held between the months of April and May. The 2009 general elections saw the IPL 2009 being held entirely in South Africa, while in the 2014 elections – one that was held over nine electoral phases – the longest elections country ever saw, led to the first 19 days of IPL 2014 to be played in middle-east.
“The IPL – under the new set of contracts and revenue models – is going to be a billion-dollar entity every season. There’s a lot at stake for many who are committed to the league. Moreover, there’s absolute unanimity among stakeholders that as much as possible, they’d like the league to be played in India, not abroad,” sources said.
2009 like move to aboard is not favorable, as BCCI failed to get required clearance from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on the transfer of funds.
“However, the 2019 general elections is going to be unlike any other in the past given the scale and stakes. IPL stakeholders will definitely want to know in advance if the 2019 edition can potentially clash with the elections. Planning in advance will be the key,” said a tournament stakeholder.