Officials play down Delhi fears after Twenty20 switch

Security concerns over the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi have not been intensified by the Indian cricket board’s decision to shift a leading Twenty20 competition abroad, a senior Olympic official has said.

On Sunday the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said the Indian Premier League would be moved overseas after the government revealed security forces would be occupied by parliamentary polls that fell during the April-May tournament.

“We have no hassles as far as security is concerned,” Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary General Randhir Singh told Reuters on Monday.

“This is something which has happened because of the elections and the government would not like security to be divided in two places.

“Millions of people will be voting and security is needed for the vast number of polling stations. This is not the right time to hold the league, they should have sorted out earlier.

“I don’t think this is any reflection on India’s ability to provide security for the Games, [but] the nation comes before anything else.”

India remains tense after bomb blasts killed 166 people in Mumbai last November, while security concerns around major sporting events have risen since gunmen ambushed the Sri Lanka cricket team in Pakistan earlier this month.

The Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) has raised doubts over sending a team to next year’s Games following the Lahore assault, in which seven Pakistanis were killed and six players wounded.

An ACGA team would travel to New Delhi next month to discuss security arrangements with senior organising committee members, the IOA added in a statement.

Indian security agencies were gearing up to guard the Games and would also put in place measure to protect the airspace over the Indian capital, Singh said in that statement.

“Australia is an integral part of the Commonwealth and we look forward to having them participate in the Delhi 2010 games.”—Reuters

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