The IPL mess October 27, 2010

Kochi gets termination notice

ESPNcricinfo staff

The IPL's Kochi franchise has been served a termination notice by the BCCI but has been given a 30-day deadline to respond and explain why it should not be scrapped. The decision was taken unanimously by the IPL's governing council, meeting in Nagpur on Wednesday morning.

"The governing council received replies from two parties, the Rendezvous group and the other co-owners, and they both felt that the dispute still exists," Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, said. "If they don't remedy these disputes in the 30 days, the franchise would stand cancelled on the 31st day."

Satyajit Gaekwad, of the Rendezvous Group, however, welcomed the extension and was confident that the factions within the consortium would make peace. "They have given us enough time to tie up our differences and come in a unified way and rise up to the expectations of the BCCI," he told NDTV. "I'm sure we should be able to do that at the earliest. If we don't tie up within 30 days we don't deserve to be in the IPL. We had asked for a period of 10 days, the board has given us 30 days."

It brings to a head a long-running dispute both between Kochi and the IPL, and within the franchise, over its ownership pattern. Details of that ownership pattern were first revealed by Lalit Modi, the former IPL chairman, in April, triggering a series of events that eventually led to his ouster from the league.

The emergency meeting was convened by Manohar due to the lingering dispute over who would run the affairs of the franchise, bought from the Cricket Board for USD 333 million, once the joint venture was formed.

The investors in the Kochi consortium include corporate firms Anchor Earth, Parinee Developers, Rosy Blue and Film Wave - which hold 74 per cent of the equity. The remaining 26% has been given to the family of Gaikwads - 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 IPL has already terminated the agreements of the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab franchises, which leaves the league with seven teams as of now.

Asked why Kochi had been given more time when Rajasthan and Punjab had been summarily ejected from the league, Manohar said those two cases were different from Kochi. "This not an intermediary breach that has been committed, as in the case of Rajasthan and Punjab, that is why they have been given 30 days to remedy this," he said. "There was transfer of ownership as far as Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab were concerned but not as far as Kochi is concerned."

The news puts into jeopardy the IPL player auction, scheduled to be held sometime in November. This auction is likely to be similar to the first, with teams starting from scratch; however, the rules have yet to be formalised.