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‘Cannot favour one city over another for key matches’: Rajeev Shukla hits back at Aaditya Thackeray’s ‘never take away WC final from Mumbai’ tweet

"It is purely a rotational matter as to where the final should be held, it cannot always be given to one city. Kolkata has also hosted finals. Mumbai has also hosted finals. Similarly, the capacity of the Ahmedabad ground is more than 1.30 lakh and we also go by the capacity... you cannot be confined to one venue," Shukla said.

The BCCI cannot favour one city over another when organising key matches, stated the board’s vice-president Rajeev Shukla, responding to Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray’s remark referring to the World Cup 2023 final that was held in Ahmedabad. Thackeray had said ‘Never take away finals from Mumbai’ after lakhs turned out for the victory parade of Team India following the 2024 T20 World Cup victory.

“It is BCCI’s policy to decide the location of the final. It cannot always be assigned to a specific city,” Shukla said on Friday.

The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai hosted the semifinal of the 2023 ODI World Cup, while the final was held at the world’s largest stadium by seating capacity in Ahmedabad.

“There was a final match in Kolkata during the 1987 World Cup, and Kolkata is considered the Mecca of cricket. So it can’t be decided that finals should always be held in a specific city,” said Shukla. “There have been semifinals and finals in Mumbai. Similarly, the Ahmedabad stadium has a capacity of 1,30,000, and we consider capacity as well,” he continued.

“Kolkata’s Eden Gardens can accommodate around 80,000 spectators (approximately 66,000). Other cities also have large capacities,” Shukla added.

“This decision considers the entire country and all venues. You cannot limit it to one location,” explained the senior board official. Shukla said it would not be correct to restrict key matches to a specific venue.

He also praised Mumbai fans for their large turnout at the open bus parade and commended the Mumbai Police for their effective management. “We were delighted to see the response from Mumbaikars. Mumbai is always a priority for us. It’s not that it isn’t. But the entire BCCI must decide where to host finals and semifinals. Every match is important,” he said.

After a huge crowd gathered during the Indian cricket team’s T20 World Cup victory parade from Marine Drive to Wankhede Stadium, Thackeray urged the BCCI not to “take away” any final matches from Mumbai.

“Yesterday’s celebration in Mumbai sends a strong message to the BCCI… Never take away a World Cup final from Mumbai!” Thackeray had written on X.

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