The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has handed the lollipop of ‘conducting Indian Premier League (IPL) on the London shores’ ahead of next month’s re-election bid to win a second term in the office. The infamous mayor has vowed to undertake this ambition as he attempts to woo the Indian as well as the Pakistani diaspora vote bank.
“The first step will be friendlies and exhibition matches. We want to get them going, maybe even this year if we make progress as we are doing with the pandemic. It has to be Covid-safe, of course. We have to bang the drum for our city, and sport is one way to do this,” Sadiq Khan said.
The mayor said that he is working with London-based cricket team Surrey about the feasibility of getting IPL franchises to play in London, saying the city has benefitted from having NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball teams come across the Atlantic for games in recent years. “I want us to be the undisputed sports capital of the world,” said Khan.
“The IPL is an incredible league. Though I’m desperate not just to see Kohli and others here when India come (to England) as they are this year but to see the likes of Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah come here on a regular basis,” Khan said at Kingstonian Cricket Club in south-west London on Friday.
Sadiq Khan also highlighted the investment done by India in London. He claimed India is a massive investor in the city and the number one city in Europe that India invests in. “Indians love cricket, we love cricket, we love Indians. We want this to be a bridge between India and London and Surrey deserve huge credit in being pioneers and with their vision to get IPL here,” Khan said.
The 14th season of the IPL is currently underway in India behind the closed doors at the six pre-allotted venues viz. Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. The IPL has only been held outside the country on two occasions — first in 2009, due to the General elections and recently in 2020 in UAE due to the coronavirus pandemic.
IPL is the biggest and most lucrative product of BCCI and the cricketing world at the moment and thus it comes as no brainer that Sadiq Khan wants a piece of it.
While Sadiq Khan aims to garner the British-Indian votes through his new charade, the readers should be aware that it was during Sadiq’s tenure that the 2019 Independence Day celebrations by the Indian diaspora in London were disrupted and marred by British Pakistani and pro-Khalistani protesters who hurled stones and eggs at the embassy building and the Indians gathered outside.
Later the protesters were seen carrying Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) and Khalistan flags and placards saying, ‘Stop shelling in Kashmir”, ‘End the siege’, ‘Stop war crimes in Kashmir’, all under the eye of Metropolitan police of London. While anarchist elements went on a rampage, Sadiq Khan did nothing concrete to show that he was serious about the situation.
After assuming the chair in 2016, under Sadiq Khan’s regime — London has become the hub of anti-establishment activities with the crime rate seeing a major rise as knife crimes have become a routine in the UK capital.
BCCI is highly protective of its IPL patent and it is one of the reasons why the richest board in the world does not allow the Indian players to play in foreign T20 leagues. Thus, Sadiq Khan’s statements can only be dubbed as a pipe dream at best and a means to woo the Indian community, which does not appear to be working as the public has seen enough of Khan’s misadventures.