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Franchise owners back decision to move IPL abroad

cricket Updated: Mar 22, 2009 19:08 IST

IANS
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Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise owners have backed the decision to hold the second edition of the Twenty20 tournament abroad.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)-owner Shah Rukh Khan called it a "great" decision while Mumbai Indians co-owner Nita Ambani said even though shifting the IPL was a last resort, they were assured they will not suffer any losses.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at an emergency meeting on Sunday decided to hold the Twenty20 tournament outside the country because state governments have expressed their inability to provide security to the tournament as it clashes with general elections.

"It is a great decision. We will follow what the IPL and BCCI decide. All the franchise owners have decided to stick together and see it through," Shah Rukh said after a meeting of the eight team owners with IPL chairman Lalit Modi Sunday.

"The elections are important for the country. It's a bigger issue than IPL. We have tried to resolve the problem. IPL officials will have to do a lot more work. We all have been working non-stop for past three days. The picture will be clear in next five to seven days," he said.

"However, the buzz which is in India will not be there, but the election buzz will be there," Shah Rukh said.

The Bollywood superstar said the sponsors should not have any problem falling in line. "The tournament is going to be televised so the sponsors will come along."

Shah Rukh, who last year travelled extensively with the team, said he will take time out this year too. "I will try to be there for as many matches as possible."

Mumbai Indians co-owner Nita Ambani said IPL has assured the franchisees that they will not suffer any losses if the Twenty20 tournament is held outside the country.

"Shifting IPL out of India was the last resort for us but we did not want to stop IPL from taking place this year. IPL has assured us that there won't be any losses," Nita, wife of Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani, said.

"We are happy as long as IPL takes place and the Indian people get to watch the matches at the Indian time," she said.

Kings XI Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta, too, welcomed the decision.

"Elections are number one priority and we had to take it into consideration. The timings will be the same so the Indian viewers will not suffer."