India news September 2, 2012

DC owners seek BCCI help to find buyer

The BCCI's working committee will meet on September 4 to decide on the future of the beleaguered Deccan Chargers IPL franchise. The meeting comes after the franchise owners sought the board's help in finding a new buyer, conceding they could not carry on running the franchise given their financial problems.

At the meeting, board president N Srinivasan - who met the franchise owners recently - is likely to explain the BCCI's future stand. "They have thrown up their hands. They met the BCCI president directly and said that they cannot get their house in order," a BCCI working committee member, told ESPNcricinfo.

On August 14, the IPL governing council had asked the Chargers management to explain why the franchise had been mortgaged to two leading Indian banks when the BCCI held the ownership rights for the franchise. Granting a month to Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited (DCHL), the board asked the Chargers' owners to come back with a reassurance that they were in a strong position to continue owning the franchise. T Venkatram Reddy, DCHL chairman, who was present at that meeting was confident the crisis would be resolved soon.

But earlier this week, Reddy revealed to The Economic Times that DCHL were in advanced talks with potential buyers and the franchise was in safe hands. However, according to the board official, the issue had become "complicated" with the investors in the franchise having asked the board to get involved.

"The lenders do not want the team to die. Nine lenders have written to the board saying they do not mind the team being sold and the board should try and help. The BCCI just wants now to facilitate in finding a buyer. We want to see if there is an amicable sale of the franchise," the official said.

In June DCHL had appointed Religare Capital Markets to look for potential investors who might be interested in buying a part or the entire stake in the franchise. But the board official pointed out any sale could not be a straightforward process. "It is not an easy task because there are some legal proceedings against the Deccan Chargers owners. There are also a number of lenders, number of people who have a stake in the team. One of the lenders has even filed a company winding-up petition," the official said.

Asked if the IPL could be in the danger of being reduced to eight teams, the official said that would be the final step. "We are trying to see and find out an amicable way out. If not, there is no other option. It is a complicated issue and is likely to be discussed during the working committee meeting," he said.

However not all board members are impressed at the sudden "soft approach" being thought about by the BCCI top brass. "Less than a month ago we had stated and issued a notice to the Deccan Chargers owners that in case they would not settle their dispute the board would auction for a new team. Now apparently we have to take a softer route. How are we concerned? The lenders are knocking at the BCCI doors because they are in trouble," a working committee member said.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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