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Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Lalit Modi threatens to axe players who opt out of IPL

By Joe Wilson
BBC sports news reporter

Lalit Modi
Modi is adamant that the IPL will go ahead in its current form

Lalit Modi has warned any player who opts out of this year's Indian Premier League because of security concerns risks their future in the tournament.

A number of players, particularly from Australia, have offered concerns raised by a report into security at the event.

But, on a series of Twitter messages, the IPL commissioner insisted the government has already given ample assurances for safe conduct of games.

He said players who chose not to show up would risk not being in future IPLs.

Modi added: "The call will be theirs. We will allow replacements for those who decide not to show up. We have 98 players on the waiting list eager to get called in.

"The IPL is for India and will remain for India. No one can dictate to us how we should conduct our tournaments."

Modi also went so far as to post: "Been told (Australia captain) Ricky Ponting (is) pressuring players not to come.''

The independent report, written by British security expert Reg Dickason, raised "serious" concerns about safety at the IPL, according to the head of the Australian Cricketers' Association, Paul Marsh.


And the cricketers' concerns are not without foundation, according to Julian Clover, general manager at Hart Security.

''If you're looking at the terrorist threat in India at the moment there are a number of strands," said Clover, whose company provides advice for travelling and working in some of the world's most challenging areas.

"There is the Maoist or Naxalite strand which tends to be rural-based groups who act against security forces from the Indian establishment.

"You've got separatism, the long-term problem up in Kashmir, and probably the most challenging strand of terrorism that faces the Indians in the Islamic Al Qaeda element.''

Whilst he could not speculate directly on the security that would be in place for the IPL, Clover, who spent two decades in the army before specialising in private security, believes Al Qaeda would be at the top of the list of concerns.

''Of course it's always a matter of opinion as to how much influence there is from Al Qaeda in Islamic terrorism and how much is domestic," he said. "I think, based on recent events, they would be the most capable. They've shown intent and a lot of determination to press their attacks home.''

It now remains to be seen how negotiations can progress.

Modi is adamant that he will only deal with each nation's cricket board, but the England and Wales Cricket Board, for example, considers that its players take part in the IPL as individuals, so does not get involved.

Instead the players look to negotiate through their associations, like the Professional Cricketers Association in England and the worldwide organisation the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations .

These are groups that Modi simply refuses to recognise, which would appear, all in all, a recipe for stalemate.

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see also
IPL will not move, insists Modi
23 Feb 10 |  Cricket
Players worried over IPL security
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IPL sets date to name new teams
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English club linked with IPL team
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Deccan beat Bangalore to win IPL
24 May 09 |  Cricket
IPL will be staged outside India
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Warne's Royals win inaugural IPL
02 Jun 08 |  Cricket

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