BPL yet to finalise contract with franchises
The Bangladesh Premier League continues to face issues, with the players' auction on Thursday happening with only a verbal agreement in place for the tournament, rather than any proper paperwork; there is still no official agreement signed between the BPL, Game On Sports (the event management firm) and the franchises. Apart from this, the players' salaries issue hung dimly above the auction floor as the seven franchises acquired the overseas and local cricketers of their choice.
On the eve of the auction, BPL chairman Afzalur Rahman Sinha said: "We haven't had enough time to sign an official agreement with the franchisees as yet. We're going into the auction based on a verbal agreement with the franchisees."
The agreement, which, when finalised, will be for a period of six years, will contain details on the working of the tournament, TV rights and key financial issues, among other things.
"I am hopeful that we'll have the deals struck by the end of this month and I am confident that the problems that occurred last year will not be repeated," Sinha said. "As of now, we have to keep the ball rolling."
BPL secretary Ismail Haider Mallick told reporters on Thursday that they have set the franchises a deadline: "We have completed the Memorandum of Understanding with the franchises and sent them the drafts of the contracts. We have given them the deadline of December 22 to complete all formalities."
Towards the end of the auction, some of the team owners took turns to speak to the media. Things turned sour when Salim Chowdhury, the owner of Dhaka Gladiators, was faced with a volley of questions regarding the player payments issue. "I don't understand why the question of money keeps coming up," he said. "If a team has spent Tk10 crore (approx USD1.25ml) and is charged with not paying Tk50 lakh (approx USD60,000), why are we facing questions? Moreover, we are also participating in the auction and the tournament, so our intention is to play cricket.
"We read a lot of news about undue player payments but we have never spoken about the money we have not been paid by our sponsors."
Player payments are not the only monetary issue for Dhaka Gladiators, as a PR agency had recently sued them over unpaid payments.
Another issue on the day was the rumour going around that there was a prearrangement between the franchises regarding who would buy whom at the auction. The organisers said such an arrangement wasn't possible. "We've also heard the rumour that there has been an arrangement [among the franchises], but going by the auctions and the prices, I am certain it didn't take place," Mallick said.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent