India news July 8, 2015

Kochi Tuskers seek IPL re-entry after winning arbitration

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What are BCCI's options after the Kochi Tuskers setback?

A court-appointed arbitrator has asked the BCCI to pay Kochi Tuskers Kerala compensation of approximately Rs 550 crore ($87 million approximately) for terminating the franchise agreement in September 2011. While the IPL governing council is considering an appeal against the order, the owners of the Kochi franchise are believed to be seeking re-entry into the league as opposed to a cash award.

"We are in possession of the arbitrator Justice Lahoti's report and a majority of the governing council members are in favour of appealing against it. We have sought an opinion from our legal team," IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla said after the governing council's meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Mukesh Patel, chairman of the Kochi Tuskers consortium, said he could not comment on the matter since he was out of town.

An appeal against an arbitration proceeding, which is usually agreed upon mutually by both the parties at the start, can be admitted by a high court if it feels that one of the parties is hard done by the outcome. The BCCI feels it may have a case here since they had followed their rulebook while terminating the controversial Kochi franchise in 2011.

The order, issued by the former Chief Justice of India RC Lahoti, was issued last week. Although the order doesn't make a mention of Kochi returning to the IPL umbrella, a BCCI insider revealed that the Kochi franchise owners have expressed their desire to feature in IPL again.

If the BCCI appeals against the arbitrator's order and if the appeal is admitted in the high court, then the question of Kochi Tuskers playing the IPL again will not arise unless the dispute is resolved in court. If the BCCI's appeal is dismissed, then the Kochi owners will have to file a plea in the court should they wish to be a part of IPL again.

The Kochi franchise, which was controversially admitted into the IPL in 2010, made its debut in 2011. But an internal dispute among co-owners resulted in the franchise defaulting on submitting the 10% bank guarantee of the total franchise fee ahead of the season. The BCCI claimed that several reminders sent to the consortium didn't elicit a response and, as a result, the franchise was terminated.

Although the Bombay High Court declined to stay the BCCI verdict two days after the franchise's termination, the consortium then filed a plea objecting to the BCCI's manner of ousting them from the IPL. It had led to both the parties agreeing on arbitration proceedings.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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