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Page last updated at 23:39 GMT, Sunday, 22 March 2009

ECB bosses return for IPL talks

David Collier
David Collier has been watching England in Guyana

English cricket board officials will meet their Indian Premier League counterparts this week to discuss the possible relocation of the tournament.

Chief executive David Collier will fly back from the West Indies for talks on Wednesday or Thursday in London.

"We have opened up discussions with the IPL within the last 36 hours and we'll be continuing those discussions in the middle of this week," he said.

"We'll be reporting back to our board at the end of the week."

The tournament's timing, which clashes with the upcoming Indian general elections, has led to a disagreement between its organisers and the Indian government on security arrangements.

After twice submitting redesigned fixture schedules to the Indian authorities, officials have taken the dramatic step of moving the whole event out of the country.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has indicated it will not rearrange any existing domestic or international matches to accommodate the IPL's 59 matches due to be held between 10 April and 24 May.

That commitment puts grounds at a premium with full Friends Provident Trophy and County Championship fixture lists in place and the touring West Indies team playing Tests at Lord's and the Riverside with one-day matches at Headingley and Bristol.

I do think there will be great difficulties in relocating it

ICC president David Morgan

"Clearly with only three weeks to go to the start of the competition, I think all parties recognise an early decision has to be made," Collier said.

International Cricket Council president and former ECB chairman David Morgan expressed doubt over the logistics of such a move.

"It's the beginning of the season in England and Wales, and there is a lot of Twenty20 cricket being played. I do think there will be great difficulties in relocating it," he said.

A clash between rival broadcasters BSkyB, who own broadcast rights to England's home matches, and Setanta, who are due to screen the IPL action, could also pose an obstacle to the league's transfer.

A British-based IPL could raise objections from BSkyB if it significantly upstaged England's matches and devalued their rights.

Cricket South Africa has also been contacted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India with a view to taking on the event.

With the South African domestic season coming to an end, more reliable weather and the possibility of guaranteed venues for each of the eight franchises, the ECB faces stiff competition.

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