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UPCA & UP Govt at loggerheads

UPCA has threatened to shift the India, SA match out of the Green Park stadium after the state Govt, which owns the venue, demanded Rs 50 lakh as a booking amount.

cricket Updated: Mar 28, 2008 02:46 IST
Sharad Deep

Even as India and South Africa battled it out on a flat Chennai wicket on Thursday, came the news of trouble brewing in Kanpur, the venue of the third and final Test.

An incensed Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) has threatened to shift the match (beginning April 11) out of the Green Park Stadium after the state government, which owns the venue, demanded Rs 50 lakh as a booking amount for the game.

The issue? A recently changed rule by which the UPCA, which used to pay for the maintenance of the ground and Rs 3 lakh per match day (as rent), has now been told they would not be required to help with maintenance but instead shell out Rs 10 lakh per match day.

The Hindustan Times has access to the letters exchanged between the two, where the UPCA has requested the government to “waive off the amount”. “Yes, that's true. Recently too (for the Indo-Pak ODI in October 2007), we spent several lakh on the stadium's maintenance,” PD Pathak, the UPCA's joint secretary (administration), told HT. “It’s an unfair and unnecessary demand at a time when we have already assured them we will spend Rs 90 crore on the proposed construction of a cricket stadium in Lucknow, with the support of the government itself.”

The warring parties will meet with the state Sports and Youth Welfare minister, Ayodhaya Prasad Pal, at 10am here on Friday to figure out the fate of the Test. "Let's see what happens. If we are compelled to pay the money, we can even think of shifting the game to another place as many other state cricket bodies are ready to host the tie," said Pathak.

Principal Secretary, Sports, Sudhir Kumar told HT the government could "consider" the UPCA's demand. But many believe if the government waived the booking amount due from the UPCA, the richest sports body in the state, it would lead to opening a Pandora's Box and similar demands from other state associations. A UP Olympic Association official said as much. "Why should the cricket body get VIP treatment?" he asked, saying they would watch the morning's proceedings carefully. So will everyone else.