Stalemate over use of three stands at MAC Stadium continues

The Chennai fans are set to miss Indian Premier League action this season due to the stalemate in the Supreme Court over the use of three stands in the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.

The two Chennai Super Kings (CSK) matches at Chepauk, against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 18 and Sunrisers Hyderabad, on the 22nd, will most likely be shifted to Ranchi according to reliable Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) sources.

A CSK source, who did not wish to be named, said on Friday that the team had received instructions to stay in Ranchi. “Ranchi is the obvious alternative. Since it is already one of our ‘home’ centres, there isn’t any need for fresh venue-inspection.

“According to the schedule, CSK plays Rajasthan on the 13th in Ranchi. Now, the players and support staff have been instructed to be prepared to stay there till the 23rd.”

A top source in the TNCA said late in the day, “there will be no IPL matches in Chennai this time.”

The other two games here, Qualifier-1 and the Eliminator, on May 27 and 28, are slated to be shifted out of Chennai as well since these business-end matches will not be played in front of three empty stands, the source said. It is learnt the IPL Governing Council (GC) meeting on Saturday will decide the venues for the Qualifier-1 and the Eliminator.

IPL GC chairman Ranjib Biswal said that the GC would have a “teleconference” on Saturday evening. “We are waiting for official word from the TNCA on this matter,” he said at the time of going to press, refusing to comment on possible alternative venues. When asked to spell out the agenda for the meeting, Biswal was equally cryptic: “We will hold discussions on the conduct of the IPL among other matters.”

However, another IPL GC member, who wished to remain unnamed, had earlier said a “Plan B was already in place” in the event of Chennai being ruled out as a venue.

“We were aware of the stadium issue and alternative venues had been planned,” he said.

P. Raghuraman, who represented TNCA in the Supreme Court, said: “It’s sad that the matches are not happening. The CMDA kept changing its stance. First it agreed for a gym for the MCC in the K stand. Then it said the gym had to be built somewhere else.”

BCCI vice-president Ravi Sawant said, “Already several CSK home matches have been played out of Chennai. So I do not see any problems if the matches are being shifted.”

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