IPL news November 15, 2010

BCCI, Rajasthan to settle through arbitration

The BCCI and Rajasthan Royals have decided to settle their dispute over the termination of the IPL franchise through arbitration, and informed the Bombay High Court of that decision today. The Royals had filed a case in the High Court challenging the board's decision to unilaterally terminate the franchise.

The two parties have agreed on Justice BN Srikrishna as the sole arbitrator and will appear before the High Court on November 18 for directions on how to proceed with the process. "This is exactly what we wanted," a source in Rajasthan Royals with knowledge of the situation told ESPNcricinfo. "It is good for us because arbitration is a faster route [than the courts]."

The IPL franchise agreement specifically provides for arbitration in the case of a dispute that cannot be settled amicably. Clause 21.1 of the agreement, states that "such dispute shall be submitted to arbitration and conclusively resolved by a single arbitrator appointed by mutual consent."

The BCCI decided, on October 10, to end the franchise's IPL affiliation on charges of transgression of shareholding and ownership norms that threatened to "shake the very foundation of the tender process", as the notice put it. The Kings XI Punjab franchise was also terminated the same day and they too have filed a case in the Bombay High Court disputing that decision. Given that the franchise contracts are the same in both cases, it is likely that their case will also wind up in arbitration with the board.

The announcement to terminate agreements with the two franchises came after days of hectic speculation and raised further questions about its implications. Though the BCCI president Shashank Manohar said the decision had nothing to do with Lalit Modi, both Rajasthan and Punjab have co-owners who are relations of the ousted IPL chairman. Neither team was given a chance to explain the charges levelled against them before they were terminated.

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo