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Hyderabad on stand-by for IPL 2019 final if Super Kings can't resolve stands issue

CoA has given Super Kings till the end of the week to revert with a solution to the long-standing issue

Nagraj Gollapudi
The Chennai Super Kings boys celebrate a wicket  •  BCCI

The Chennai Super Kings boys celebrate a wicket  •  BCCI

Chennai might miss out on hosting the IPL 2019 final if the long-standing issue over the three closed stands at MA Chidambaram Stadium remains unresolved. In case the stands remain locked, then the BCCI has kept Hyderabad (home to last season's losing finalists Sunrisers) and Bengaluru as back-ups to host the four play-off matches - Hyderabad will then most likely host Qualifier 1 and the final, with Qualifier 2 and the Eliminator taking place in Bengaluru.
The issue was discussed by the BCCI's Committee of Administrators (CoA) and the IPL management on Monday, and it was decided to allow Chennai Super Kings a few more days to try and find a solution to the problem.
Super Kings, as defending champions, have the right to host the final at their home base, and are expected to revert by end of this week after which a final call will be taken on the playoff venues.
The stadium has hosted the IPL 2019 opener between Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore as well as two more games since then with the stands closed. However, the IPL Governing Council has been concerned about the bad optics the vacant stands present, especially on TV, for the marquee matches.
"There are three stands that are locked. If they can't clear the issue, we can't have the finals there," Vinod Rai, the CoA chairman, told ESPNcricinfo. "Otherwise the fallback options are Hyderabad and Bangalore."
The Chennai corporation had closed the three stands - I, J and K, adding up to roughly 12,000 seats - in 2012 as there were discrepancies when the stadium was refurbished before the World Cup in 2011. Only once since then have they been opened to the public, after Tamil Nadu Cricket Association got special permission to do so for an India v Pakistan ODI in December 2012.
Rai also said that the league phase of the women's IPL exhibition matches would be played in Visakhapatnam, and the one-off play-off is likely to take place in Bengaluru. A final schedule would be released by the BCCI shortly.

Nagraj Gollapudi is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo