Mumbai, Apr 27: The tough stand taken by the Mumbai police preventing even Cricket Board officials from entering their own premises inside the Wankhede Stadium during IPL match days if they are without police passes has upset the BCCI, which is threatening to shift next month's two play-off ties from the venue to Bangalore.
However, police have refused to budge from their tough stand and maintained they cannot compromise on security rules at the Wankhede Stadium over “ego issues”.
“The Board officials are upset with the Mumbai police for insisting that they have to carry police accreditations to enter their own offices (at Cricket Centre inside the Wankhede Stadium).
“The Mumbai Cricket Association has been given three days' time to sort out this issue with the police or the two semi finals matches (on May 24 and 25) would be shifted to Bangalore,” according to informed sources.
Board secretary N Srinivasan, CAO Prof Ratnakar Shetty and IPL CEO Sundar Raman had been stopped outside the Vinoo Mankad gate and prevented from entering their office parking lot in their car on April 15, when the Wankhede Stadium hosted its first IPL match of the season between Mumbai Indians and Kochi Tuskers Kerala, without police passes.
The matter was raised at the Board's Working Committee meeting held here today.
But the Deputy Police Commissioner (Operations) Rajkumar Vhatkar said, “Neither Srinivasan, Ratnakar Shetty nor me are above law and security. What would happen if these people go to USA? Don't they follow security measures taken by the authorities there?.”
The police authorities are refusing to recognise valid accreditations issued by the IPL to all categories of people including event broadcasters, other service providers like catering personnel and media without a police pass accompanying it.
The media persons, who were without police passes, had to be escorted in by one of the MCA officials into the media enclosure on two match days before police passes were issued to most of them. But even now, a handful is without police authorisation, according to the local association sources.
Vhatkar insisted on following the rule, given the security situation in the metropolis.
“Thorough security checking is required. Not even City Police Commissioner is allowed to enter the ground without police accreditation. Then why are the BCCI officials making an issue out of it? Egos should be kept aside when it comes to security of thousands of people,” Vhatkar told PTI.
“We will not compromise with security. We have taken heightened security measures keeping in the mind the safety of thousands of spectators, cricketers and all others present inside the ground. We cannot put all these people's security at stake because some people have ego problems,” Vhatkar said.
In fact, the uncompromising stand by the police threatened to blow into a huge controversy ahead of the April 2 World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka when Tournament Director Prof. Shetty insisted he would not carry a police badge, and instead, buy a ticket and enter the venue.
The matter was sorted out at the last minute with the police authorities relenting, it was learnt. PTI