India news February 12, 2012

No decisions yet on BCCI-Sahara row

In a significant development towards a likely resolution, the BCCI president N Srinivasan and Sahara India chairman Subrata Roy met in person for the first time since the flashpoint last week, when Sahara pulled out of the sponsorship of the Indian team and the ownership of Pune Warriors IPL franchise. A joint statement issued at the end of the hour-long meeting only said that the BCCI had decided to table the "outstanding issues" of the dispute at the board's working committee meeting in Chennai on Monday. The absence of any discontent within the Sahara camp suggested the meeting went some way towards finding a resolution of mutual satisfaction.

"Sahara & BCCI met today and discussed all the outstanding issues, and it was agreed that the subject will be further discussed in the BCCI Working Committee meeting tomorrow. The interaction was focussed on interest of Indian cricket, including IPL," the statement said.

The meeting took place at one of Sahara's hotels in Mumbai and was attended by senior officials from both sides. Accompanying Srinivasan were the BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale, the treasurer Ajay Shirke, the IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla and the IPL chief executive Sundar Raman. Roy came with his son Sushanto and Abhijit Sarkar, the head of corporate communications at Sahara. Asked if the meeting went according to plan, Roy only said that he found ample time to speak to Srinivasan.

One of the BCCI officials indicated that the meeting was a good opportunity for Srinivasan and Roy to talk frankly and listen to each other. "This was their first face-to-face meeting. They [Sahara] have explained their position, relating to the various disputes in detail," the board official told ESPNcricinfo. "Both of them have clarified and exactly understood each other's positions."

Asked about the issues discussed, a source in Sahara said that they were not interested in specifics or minor issues. "The idea is to look it from a macro, and not a micro, level to make it a competitive and even playing field for all franchises," he said. "We always have maintained that retention [of players in 2011] went against us. The valuation we had calculated when we bought the franchise was based on 94 matches, which came down to 74. That is 20 games and in terms of money it is 23 to 24% of the annual franchise fee."

It is understood that one of the bigger concessions Sahara sought was a reduction in the franchise fee to the IPL. Sahara had bought the Pune franchise for $370 million. It is not clear if Sahara asked for that change with retrospective effect, starting in 2011. "The BCCI, after notifying its working committee, will let us know what all areas they are ready to talk about," the Sahara official said.

However, a BCCI working committee member said an issue referred to it was likely to meet with approval given that it would already have passed through the board's senior most officials.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo