Sunil Gavaskar, the Supreme Court-appointed president of BCCI-IPL, has declined the request from the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) to reinstate Jaipur as the home venue of Rajasthan Royals for IPL 2014.
On Thursday, the IPL announced the final schedule for the tournament, which begins in UAE and finishes in India. Among the notable venues omitted was Jaipur, the home base of Rajasthan Royals. The IPL reasoned that since the RCA failed to produce the No-Objection Certificate from the state government, it was left with no choice but to pick Ahmedabad as the alternative, a preference given by Royals themselves.
Although the RCA's officiating secretary KK Sharma dispatched an emergency request on Friday to the IPL requesting for Jaipur to be included, Gavaskar made it clear that the decision could not be reversed. Gavaskar added that even Chennai and Mohali had lost out on a few home games due to want of permissions.
"The BCCI-IPL had sent letters earlier to all the associations asking for their availability, security aspect in view of the fact that this is the year when the general elections are on," Gavaskar said in his first interaction with the Indian media in Mumbai since taking over the interim role.
"Having received letters from various associations, we have scheduled the matches according to the okays that we have received from various associations. There was that little bit of uncertainty about Jaipur. And not just Jaipur, as you see from the schedule, Chennai and Mohali also had issues. Therefore the endeavour has been to make sure that the schedule is not been disrupted."
In his letter, Sharma had said the RCA was "surprised" about Jaipur being ignored and felt the loss would be suffered by both the cricket body as well as the people.
"We are surprised how the governing council of the IPL has shifted our home matches to Ahmedabad without even asking us. We shall suffer losses for the perpetration made as well as the people of Rajasthan shall lose their right to see the home team perform in front of them," Sharma stated in the letter. "We would request you to kindly reschedule the itinerary and give us the due home matches as earlier."
However, Gavaskar pointed out that considering the internal legal dispute of RCA, Royals were happy to play in Ahmedabad instead of Jaipur.
"Besides, I think the RCA matters are also sub-judice and therefore in view also of the fact that the Rajasthan Royals did indicate that they would be happy to play at Ahmedabad, the decision was taken. But it is also in view of the fact that every franchise has been talked to. Like I said, some of the regular venues have missed out. Some of the regular venues like Dharamsala, for example, have missed out. Chennai will get only a couple of matches because of the election situation. That is how it is, so it doesn't rule these venues out from next season's IPL but in the current circumstances, with the kind of uncertainty that was there, the decision was taken only because of that and not for any other reason," Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar, who spent his first week in the UAE overseeing the preparations for the first 20 matches from April 1 to 30, reassured that all the eight franchises will be compensated adequately for the additional costs incurred during the first phase.
"I think that has been agreed to. That is understood that there will be compensation but what the quantum is is something they are working on," Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar said a formula was still being worked out and the franchises, too, will be involved before arriving at a final figure. "That is being looked at because it will take some time to calculate the exact amount of compensation, looking at the number of matches they will get, some number of matches they will miss out. There are a lot of factors to look at as far as the compensation package is concerned. I am pretty certain that they (franchises) will be happy. They won't be too disappointed."
Asked whether he had made up his mind on whether to retain Sundar Raman, the controversial IPL chief operating officer, as a BCCI employee, Gavaskar said he is yet to take a call.
"I am seized of the matter. Right now, I have just been in office for a week and therefore I am evaluating all the information that is coming to me. So, once all the information comes to me, certainly I will be able to (take the call)."
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo