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March 24, 2009
Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, has said the South African economy will benefit enormously from staging the lucrative Twenty20 tournament. Speaking at a press conference in Johannesburg, Modi suggested the influx of players, coaches, support staff, media and spectators would inject many millions into South Africa over the league's five-week duration.
"At any given point of time, we have 10,000 people working on this tournament," Modi told reporters. "South Africa will be benefitted a lot. We will be consuming 30,000 rooms in hotels and 10,000 airline tickets for the purpose of this tournament. Irrespective of the cost, we are happy to go forward in incurring the cost because cricket is very important for us, and all our club owners are with us.
"We have a lot of hard work before the first match starts on April 18, but with CSA's help we will deliver a world-class event. There will be a lot of people disappointed that the tournament will not take place in India, but being in South Africa it will allow fans to watch games live on TV screens in India.
"We would like to thank Cricket South Africa very much for the support they have given us over the past few days, which has helped us to come to this decision. The South African public loves T20 cricket and CSA successfully hosted the inaugural ICC World T20. Both these factors weighed heavily in South Africa's favour, and we look forward to a successful and exciting tournament being held at venues throughout South Africa."
Gerald Majola, the chief executive of Cricket South Africa, was confident that, despite the tight timeframe in which to organise the tournament, the IPL's second season will prove a success. "This is a great compliment to both CSA and our nation to be shown this confidence in our ability to hold one of the world's top sporting events at short notice," Majola said. "The organisers can be assured that they have the full support of CSA's structures and the South African public to stage a successful tournament.
"This event will strengthen the ties even further between South African and Indian cricket, as well as binding our nations even closer together. We are looking forward to hosting some of the world's best cricketers, and we can assure them they will be provided with the very best facilities to show their skills."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.