The UAE will host the first leg of this year's IPL as the lucrative Twenty20 tournament this year clashes with the parliamentary election in India, according to the organisers.
With poll security being the Indian government's priority, UAE would host at least 16 IPL matches from April 16-30, the Indian cricket board said in a statement without naming the venues. Local media claimed Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah would host those matches.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has approached the interior ministry for permission to host the May 1-12 matches in states where polling would be over, but has kept Bangladesh as a standby in case the government cannot provide security.
"BCCI will abide by the decision of the authorities in this regard. If it is not possible to play in India during this period, IPL matches will be held in Bangladesh," the board said.
The last set of matches culminating in the June 1 final would be held in India, the board said, promising to share tournament schedules soon.
South Africa hosted the second IPL in 2009 when the cash-awash tournament clashed with the multi-phased election that year.
The Dubai-headquartered International Cricket Council (ICC) hailed the decision, saying IPL matches in UAE would raise the game's profile in the Gulf nation which has qualified for this year's World Twenty20 and next year's 50-over World Cup.