The IPL Mess November 28, 2010

BCCI defers decision on Kochi to December 5

ESPNcricinfo staff

The IPL governing council has deferred its final decision on Kochi franchise to December 5. Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, said that the Kochi owners had submitted their reply on Saturday evening to the board's termination notice asking them to resolve their differences. He said the council did not have enough time to review Kochi's response at its meeting in Nagpur on Sunday morning, and will seek the board's lawyers' opinion before taking any decision.

"They submitted a new ownership pattern yesterday," Manohar said at a media conference, immediately after the hour-long meeting. "We had no time to examine it. All of you are aware that everyday we are in court in a legal battle and hence we would like to have the opinion of our legal experts before we take any decision."

As part of the new agreement Rendezvous Sports, the promoters of the franchise, have agreed to shrink their ownership stake to allow the rival investors group to have a bigger say in running of the company, which will be now called Kochi IPL Cricket Pvt. Ltd. "They have entered into an MoU whereby the stakes of Rendezvous is diluted from 26% to 10%," Manohar said. "They have also given various affidavits which all need to be looked into."

A BCCI insider told ESPNcricinfo that the board was being cautious with Kochi because they had received conflicting letters over the last three days. "If we [the BCCI] had gone ahead based on the document today and if we had found something missing later it wouldn't have looked good. A problem which could not be solved for months together suddenly seemed resolved. It would look very foolish if we were to re-visit this issue couple of days later. So, as part of any good administrative practice we have decided to verify everything."

He also said that the one-week extension did not mean the board was thinking of getting a replacement team through a fresh auction process."We can't just throw them out for no reason. If we are convinced their reasoning is healthy and they have put a good company structure in place, they will stay on board."

This latest patch-up among the owners is a fresh twist to the long-running saga at the Kochi franchise which has been riven with differences right from its day of inception. The biggest problem has been the ownership pattern with the investors unhappy about the promoters holding 26% of sweat equity. The investors in the consortium - Anchor Earth, Parinee Developers, Rosy Blue and Film Wave -hold 74% of the equity. The remaining 26% has been given to the Gaikwad family - Shailendra, his brother Ravi and their parents plus a few others, all part of Rendezvous Sports World - as free equity for services rendered in successfully bidding for the franchise.

The league's governing council, at its emergency meeting on October 27, felt Kochi was far from resolving those issues and issued a notice asking both factions to explain why the franchise should not be scrapped.

The chances of both factions reaching a compromise seemed bleak when the investors sent a letter on Wednesday to Manohar, stating that they were withdrawing support to the franchise because of the inability to resolve the problems with the promoters.