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IPL 2019: BCCI donates opening ceremony funds to CRPF and armed forces

File photo of Indian Premier League's trophy (L), Vinod Rai (R). Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 23, 2019, 07.04 PM (IST)

India's cricket board, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), contributed the entire budget earmarked for the Indian Premier League's opening ceremony to the funds of the Indian armed forces and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). 

The BCCI has contributed a sum of Rs 20 crore. 

Official BCCI release said, "It was unanimously decided that a sum of Rs 11 crore be contributed to the Indian Army, Rs 7 crore to the CRPF and Rs 1 crore each to the Navy and Air Force respectively." 

The Committee of Administrators (CoA), running the BCCI had said that the opening ceremony will be cancelled in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. 

"We'll not have a regular IPL opening ceremony," said the chief of CoA Vinod Rai. 

The twelfth season of Indian Premier League will kick off with Chennai taking on Bangalore at Chennai's Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday. 

Usually, the opening ceremonies of India's cash-rich T20 league are heady mix glitz and glamour with performances by Bollywood stars being the highlight. 

However, the CoA took the call at a meeting to scrap the ceremony in honour of martyred CRPF men.  

CoA Chairman, Mr. Vinod Rai said, "As a federation, we felt it was best not to hold a regular IPL opening ceremony. Instead, we decided to contribute the amount towards a cause that is so important and close to everyone's heart."

Rai's CoA colleague Diana Edulji said, "This comes as a welcome move and as a mark of respect to the ones who lost their lives in the terror attack. The BCCI has always been sensitive towards issues of national interest and will continue to make contributions whenever the need arises."

Lieutenant General Ravindra Thodge, a member of CoA, said, "The national interest is of utmost importance to us. We understand the sentiments of the people and the families that have been affected by the Pulwama attack and martyred in operations in J&K, Northeast and anti Naxal operations or otherwise during the course of their Duty. 

"We respect and admire our Armed Forces and Central Armed Police Forces. This move was our way of showing solidarity and making a contribution in whatever capacity possible."

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Earlier, had said that the opening ceremony will be cancelled in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.