India news October 29, 2013

Double standards in BCCI, says 'betrayed' Roy

ESPNcricinfo staff

Subrata Roy, the chairman of Sahara India, has criticised the BCCI over its different standards in dealing with IPL franchises and said he felt "betrayed" by the board's decision to terminate the IPL franchise Pune Warriors - owned by Roy - for failing to pay their bank guarantee for the 2014 season. He cited the case of Gurunath Meiyappan and the Chennai Super Kings franchise, who were cleared of any involvement in corrupt activities, though Gurunath was charged by the Mumbai Police with allegations of betting.

"If the chief of any institution can create and allow such bad example like that of Gurunath, how can a body function independently? Had Gurunath been an owner or principal of some other team, what would have happened to that team?" Roy told the Times of India. "After this example, BCCI has lost the right to take action against anyone. Their whims and fancies are more important to them than anything else."

Sahara had threatened to pull out of the IPL last year, barely an hour before the auction. The main point of contention has been the franchise fee, which was negotiated for 18 matches per team in the league stage. However the minimum number of matches was reduced to 16, after which Sahara sought to resolve the matter through arbitration. Even though the BCCI and Sahara agreed to the arbitration, no further steps were taken after the parties failed to agree over who would oversee the abitration.

In March this year, Sahara was required to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 170.2 crore for IPL 2014. The franchise had defaulted on 70% of the payment last season and had its bank guarantee encashed by the BCCI in May. Subsequently, Sahara announced its decision to pull out of the IPL, detailing its concerns against the board, and also stated its intentions to withdraw sponsorship of the national cricket team.

"They have false egos and high-handedness and the Board will realise how big a financial loss it is suffering after Sahara pulls out of team sponsorship", Roy said. "I don't think any corporate would be interested to pay so much money to cricket at a time when there is so much of ego in the cricket bosses."

The decision to oust Pune Warriors from the IPL was taken at the BCCI working committee meeting in Chennai on October 26, but Roy felt such drastic measures were unnecessary. "I felt betrayed," he said. "Had they sat across the table, we would have continued with the Indian team sponsorship."