With a lot of people sceptical about the atmosphere in the United Arab Emirates, the Indian Premier League’s governing body is making an effort to cover all bases for the first leg of the Twenty20 tournament.
Amid the perception of the Middle East being the hotbed of the fixing and betting syndicate, the IPL governing council has placed utmost importance to the players’ safety and security.
“Despite the UAE government’s assurance, we have decided to hire the services of a reputed private security agency,” said a key BCCI official.
To give the players a round-the-clock robust security ring, the IPL body has dialled its tried and trusted South African security agency Nicholls Steyn and Associates for the entire tournament.
“We have done a recce of all the venues and hotels where the teams would be put up. It was an extensive exercise where we took note of the players’ movement, from the ground to the hotel and the roads leading up to it. Our brief is very clear: to provide optimum security cover to every team and make sure all the players are protected all the time,” said Bob Nicholls, one of the directors and founder of the Johannesburg-based security agency.
Ready to confront the perception of UAE being susceptible to fixing and betting mafias, Nicholls is relying on his previous experiences in the UAE to tackle any such problem if it comes up. “We have already been involved in a few protection and security-related projects in the UAE. So, we have a fair idea about the operational aspects of security apparatus required for this place. Our neat record not just here but across the world will take care of the security needs of the team,” Nicholls assured.
Defining their role in tandem with the Anti-Corruption Security Unit of the BCCI, Nicholls further clarified, “Though our role and focus solely remains on the players’ security aspect, but we will be working in tune with the ACSU which in other words means we will keep an eye on those potential suspect elements who would try to get close to the players”.
Started by Bob Nicholls and Rory Steyn, this agency have gained expertise in providing high-quality security and protection cover globally with clientele ranging from royalty, political figures, celebrities, sports personalities, private individuals and corporate executive. In 2009 during the IPL in South Africa, the IPL body had sought its services for the first time, and since then NSA is associated with the League.