THAT WANKHEDE stadium will host the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches became a certainty on Friday with the Cricket Club of India (CCI) being rejected as a choice of the venue by the Mumbai franchise owners.
Wankhede Stadium will now host the 10 ties to be played in Mumbai, including the semifinals and final, alongwith the Dr DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
Mumbai franchise owners Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) have rejected the CCI, according to a club official, following a disagreement over availability of a couple of enclosures for the club members.
It may be recalled that the Hindustan Times had reported on Thursday that the CCI is set to dropped by the RIL due to ticketing issues.
This invariably means that the Wankhede and the Dr DY Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai will jointly host the 10 matches, including the semifinals and the final, that are scheduled to be played in Mumbai.
On Friday, Kamaljeet Rajpal, the chief executive officer of CCI, said at a press conference that the RIL have conveyed their inability to play matches at the CCI.
"After they (RIL) approached us in February to seek the availability of the ground, we had offered them the stadium without providing the complete Club House and the Members' Childern Enclosure," Rajpal said.
"They wrote to us yesterday evening that they don't agree with the conditions."
CCI president Raj Singh Dungarpur said that according to the CCI rules "every club member has a right to watch all events from the Club House without paying any fees".
"I would like to clarify that there is no conflict between the CCI, the franchise and the MCA (Mumbai Cricket Association)," Dungarpur said.
"But the executive committee has unanimously decided that if the members are not allowed entry into the Club House free of charge, the CCI will not host any match."
While no RIL official was available for a reaction, sources in the MCA told HT that they will make both the grounds officially available on Saturday.
"We will write to them on Saturday and make both, the Wankhede and the Dr DY Patil stadium, available," a source said. "Now it's up to them to split the seven home matches between the two stadiums."