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No resolution in BCCI-Sahara impasse

Nagraj Gollapudi

February 13, 2012

Comments: 18 | Text size: A | A

Pune Warriors get-together after Dwaraka Ravi Teja's dismissal, Deccan Chargers v Pune Warriors, IPL 2011, Hyderabad, April 10, 2011
Sahara wanted the Pune Warriors to be allowed to field an extra foreign player in the XI © AFP
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The impasse between the BCCI and Sahara India continues with the board, whose working committee met on Monday, saying it would not make an exception for the Pune Warriors IPL franchise. N Srinivasan, the BCCI president, said the board had sent a proposal to Sahara but did not mention its details.

Sahara is yet to respond to the proposal but the company's officials have made public the concerns they raised at yesterday's meeting with the BCCI top brass in Mumbai. These include a replacement player for Yuvraj Singh, who is expected to miss the entire 2012 season; the holding of a player auction next year to level the playing field; a 27% reduction in their annual franchise fee; finding a strategic partner for the franchise; and the fact that Sahara was the only owner asked for a bank guarantee for the franchise fee.

BCCI on Sahara pulling out of the Indian team sponsorship

  • "Sponsors are not going away; in any contractual arrangements you will have to arrange to provide the possibility for change. I don't think it is fair to say that the BCCI is losing money - it has not lost any money," N Srinivasan said. "For the properties that we have, I think, we have adequate sponsors now. We may have a problem with the sponsors. We have shown that we will walk the extra mile to show that feeling for the sponsor. But I do not think one has to be concerned that there will be no sponsors."

ESPNcricinfo has learnt, though, that most of these requests were turned down because they were not in the framework of the IPL's rules. "Except for allowing them to have a strategic partner on board of the Warriors franchise, no other request was approved," a member of the BCCI's working committee said.

For the record, Srinivasan said these grievances had been "communicated" to the working committee and the response was positive but "within the framework of its rules." The board, he said, "cannot create an exception because observance of the regulation strictly is important to the integrity of the league."

Asked if the IPL was willing to accept Sahara's request to allow a replacement for Yuvraj Singh, Srinivasan said that was possible. "I am told, as per the rules, Sahara can have a replacement for Yuvraj. That is not an issue."

The reality, though, could be different. The BCCI appears wary of giving in too much for fear of "opening a Pandora's box", the official said. "Every now and then a franchise would ask for such concessions."

Another problem is time: with the IPL starting on April 4 and the trading window closing at the end of the week there are still issues to sort out. The Sahara camp appears calm, at least for the moment, and is waiting for the BCCI communiqué on today's developments. "We have kept it open, they have kept it open," he said.

Sahara spoke instead through the two-page document elaborating on the issues that were discussed at Sunday's meeting. The first request dealt with the replacement for Yuvraj, who is being treated for cancer. Sahara said it proposed an open auction of players in 2013 to ensure a level playing field; until then, it said, the team should be allowed one extra foreign player in the XI.

Sahara also said it had bid for the franchise - eventually paying $370 million - on the basis of a 94-match IPL, but only 74 games were played in 2011. Accordingly, it sought a 27% cut in its annual franchise fee. "Considering the reduced number of matches that actually took place against the earlier representation of BCCI before tendering for the new franchise, we have ended up bidding 27% extra if we go by the revenues that we would have accrued from media rights, gate receipts, sponsorship revenue etc. There has to be a reduction in the Franchise Fee as per the above," Sahara's statement said.

The BCCI's contention, though, was that the tender for the new franchises in 2010 did not mention a specific number of matches.

Sahara's other key demand concerned the bank guarantee it was paying to the BCCI against the franchise fee. Roy is believed to have told Srinivasan that it was "discriminatory" to ask them to pay the bank guarantee when none of the original eight franchises did the same. The BCCI official, though, said the large sums involved in the 2010 auction - the Pune franchise fetched more than five times the price of some of the original franchises - necessitated some sort of guarantee.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Kulaputra on (February 14, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

1. Not reducing fees when matches have been reduced is not natural justice. 2. Not having a draft system will ensure that strong teams remain strong and weak teams remain weak. Learn from USA football leagues. 3.Concessions were allowed to Mumbai (5 foreigners) and Bangalore (Chris Gayle + Dirk Nannes in champions league) but not to Pune smacks of favouritism 4.Srinivasan as president and owner of a team - Should courts start taking notice? 5. Before cricket is run by supreme court, can BCCI wakeup ? The Government of India did not and is paying the price !!!!

Posted by faff on (February 14, 2012, 7:43 GMT)

@Dr.M.S.ARVIND if MI had shortage of indian players then why a foreign player?? why not a local talented indian player deserving a chance??? was there any shortage of players in indian domestic cricket? it was totally unfair to other teams..

Posted by xylo on (February 13, 2012, 21:20 GMT)

When I read BCCI and the word "open" in the same piece, I need to double check if I am on Page 2 or not.

Posted by igorolman on (February 13, 2012, 19:09 GMT)

@gentlemans-game: nice idea, but what the BCCI gets up to in the name of 'cricketainment' is funnier than the dross on Page 2 (Zaltzman being the shining exception).

Posted by Dr.M.S.ARVIND on (February 13, 2012, 18:46 GMT)

@Squarepeg : PWI on same grounds as MI? Are you joking mate? Mumbai got exception because they lacked as many as 7 of the 14 Indian players and had just 7 players in CLT20 squad from India.Hence could have found it difficult to sport a XI since even an injury to an Indian would have meant that they could no more sport a 7+4 combo. With Pune its just Yuvraj Singh and no one else. Why would they get a leeway for just one player.

Posted by Dr.M.S.ARVIND on (February 13, 2012, 18:42 GMT)

Roy has been our sponsor for a decade and can expect some leeways in BCCI matters pertaining to sponsorship. But demanding the rules to be bent in a tournament conducted by BCCI where 8 other franchises play is just a reflection of his ego. His only demand that makes sense is with reduction of matches from 94 to 74. As for Yuvraj's case, its foolish to argue on Mumbai getting the allowance. It was because then Mumbai had no Tendulkar, Rohith, Munaf along with 4 more domestic players. That meant they had no domestic player in the bench and hence were allowed. To compare that for one Yuvi is just ridiculous. As for New Auction in 2013, Mr.Roy knew that in 2010 itself. Just to have a new auction for him when sides like Mumbai, Chennai, Banglore have been building a strong base after few years together is just not acceptable. If he wants to leave let him. Team India can find a new sponsor. Only that BCCI might need to reduce its sponsorship rights cost a bit. IPL is good with 8 teams..

Posted by kiran9563 on (February 13, 2012, 17:07 GMT)

I don't like Sport Vs Money

Posted by dhoni_sachin_fan on (February 13, 2012, 16:35 GMT)

@satish619chandar : fair points. agree with most. i really do not understand why there is a cry for a fresh auction. PWI were at a level field with almost 8 teams (except CSK and MI) during the fresh auctions held before ipl4. RCB and DD retained only 1 player each. Bank Guarantee and reduced franchisee fee - Pune have a point. Yuvraj's replacement - don't see why they can't get it when RCB got Gayle for Nannes and eventually played both of them in the CL T-20.

Posted by BarmyIan on (February 13, 2012, 16:33 GMT)

Have the franchises caught up with paying all there players yet? There was a story recently that a significant number of players hadn't been paid by the IPL franchises!!

Posted by squarepeg on (February 13, 2012, 15:10 GMT)

Sahara's demand for additional foreign players is almost on same grounds as Mumbai Indians wanting and getting one additional foreign player. In sports, injury does happen, and no exception should have been and should be made for such. Sahara made their biggest mistake by boycotting the auction and now wanting to benefit by signing players at base price. Re guarantee and part refund of bid money look fair and reasonable. What is wrong with getting a strategic partner?

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