NEW DELHI, India (CNN -- Next month's Indian Premier League cricket tournament will be played outside India because of election security concerns, sport officials said Sunday.
IPL chairman Lalit Modi and actress Shilpa Shetty at the player auction on February 6.
"Given the present circumstances, we had no option but to shift it outside of India," N. Srinivasan, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), told CNN.
The dates of the six-week event, which runs from April 10 to May 24, will remain the same, he said. The IPL, which launched last year, is one of the most lucrative tournaments in world cricket, drawing stars from around the world.
In a statement, the BBCI said it was not in a position to cancel or play a truncated version of the tournament.
"It is a matter of great regret that, in the prevailing atmosphere, where the Government is expressing concern for providing security to the IPL matches, the BCCI is left with no other option but to conduct the Indian Premier League in another country," the statement said. Watch a report on the security concerns »
A South African official confirmed that the nation had been approached to host the tournament. "We received an official approach this morning [Sunday] to be one of several options they are considering," Gerald Majola, CEO of Cricket South Africa, said on the group's Web site.
"We do not know what the other options are and it is not for us to comment on that."
Majola said they are planning to discuss details on the proposal, adding that "it is a huge compliment to Cricket South Africa's organizational skills, facilities and infrastructure."
Britain is also being mooted as a possible venue with England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clark confirming on Sunday that a feasibility study had been launched at the BCCI's request.
More than 1.5 million people of Indian descent live in Britain and the added attraction would see players able to stay in the same country ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup which starts on June 1.
The drawback would be the English weather in the early spring and the greater time difference for the Indian domestic TV audience.
India's capital, New Delhi, is four hours ahead of Johannesburg, with London a further two behind.
"We have a very good relationship with the BCCI if they need any help on matters," Clarke told Press Association.
The change in venue follows the Indian government's concerns regarding security for the event, which was to take place in a period when the country goes for general elections.
About two million security personnel will guard the multi-phased vote from April to May, according to the Indian election commission.
India's federal home ministry had rejected a new schedule proposed by tournament organizers over security issues.
Terror attacks in Mumbai and most recently on the Sri Lankan team and match officials in Lahore, Pakistan, have also increased security concerns around cricket in the sub-continent, with many leading players expressing reservations.
Srinivasan said that the board will likely announce the new host country in two to three days.
The inaugural IPL was held last year with the majority of the world's leading cricketers playing for eight franchises in the Twenty20 format.
It attracted massive audiences at the grounds and on television with many experts predicting that it could change the face of traditional cricket.
England stars Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff were due to play this year and command $1.55 million fees after being picked at the player auction in Goa on February 6 which attracted the glitterati of Indian society.
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