The IPL mess

Modi served notice over IPL theatre rights

Cricinfo staff

May 31, 2010

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Lalit Modi arrives at the domestic terminal in New Delhi, April 28, 2010
The $71.2m deal for the global theatrical rights of the IPL for ten seasons is the latest source of worry for Lalit Modi © AFP
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Suspended IPL commissioner Lalit Modi has been served a third notice by the Indian board, this time for underselling the theatrical rights of the tournament last November and for awarding the contract for mid-over advertising slots during IPL matches last season without BCCI consent. An IPL official confirmed the notice had been served on Modi on the day he is due to reply to the second notice served on him.

Modi has already been sent two notices, one soon after the conclusion of the IPL this year and another after receiving an email from the ECB alleging activities by Modi that are "detrimental to Indian cricket, English cricket and world cricket at large." Modi, on Monday, filed his reply to the second show cause notice. According to the notice, Modi allegedly talked about setting up a parallel Twenty20 league in England and Wales in which eight existing IPL franchises would bid for nine counties in the United Kingdom.

The latest source of trouble, however, surrounds the Rs 330-crore ($71.2 million) deal last November with Entertainment & Sports Direct (ESD), promoted by a Dubai-based private equity firm, for the global theatrical rights to ten seasons of league matches starting with the 2010 season. ESD had won the bid beating out competition from Triplecom Media. The main cause for concern for the Indian board, according to a BCCI source, is that the deal was completely "underpriced".

The board also wants an explanation over the contract for the mid-over advertising during the matches this year. According to the original IPL broadcast deal, Multi-Screen Media (MSM) was offered 2600 seconds to commercially exploit in each of the IPL matches. But, reportedly, Modi suggested the organisers could exploit a further 150 seconds by showing an ad when the ball was not in play between the deliveries in an over.

The contract with MSM was revised and Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, reportedly asked Modi to float a tender at the IPL governing council meeting on March 7 for the additional 150 seconds per match. Instead, it is alleged, Modi awarded the contract on his own to a firm owned by Kunal Dasgupta, who was instrumental in Sony bagging the IPL broadcast rights before the tournament's inaugural season. "The board is unhappy that he did not even inform the governing council and worse it is the board that owns this [150-second] slot and the money has not come in," a governing council official informed Cricinfo.

On Monday evening, Modi also served a defamation notice on Clarke, giving the ECB chairman seven days to provide a "full and unconditional apology and retraction in a form, manner and terms to be agreed". Modi said in the notice that Clarke's claims were "utterly untrue" and that he was never involved in "planning an unauthorised cricket league or tournament anywhere in the world which is not approved either by the ICC or ICC's member associations".

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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