India’s money-spinning IPL seeks new home

NEW DELHI, March 23, 2009 (AFP) – Organisers of the Indian Premier League scrambled on Monday to find an emergency venue for the lucrative cricket tournament after security fears forced them to abandon the event’s home nation. England and South Africa are regarded as the front-runners to host the IPL’s glitzy Twenty20 games from April 10 to May 24, although the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka are also being considered.

A decision is expected late Monday or Tuesday after hectic round-the-clock talks between IPL commissioner Lalit Modi and cricket authorities in the prospective countries.

With the 59-match extravaganza less than three weeks away, Modi and his team face a race against time to finalise the schedule and arrangements, described by one team official as a “logistical nightmare.”

The IPL, which was only founded last year, features Indian cricketers and the world’s top players in eight teams owned by Bollywood film stars and the country’s wealthiest businessmen.

But the Indian cricket board, which owns the IPL, moved the tournament abroad on Sunday after the government said it could not provide security at the same time as protecting general elections.

Modi said shifting the tournamen