Kochi franchise cleared to play in the IPL
The Kochi franchise's new ownership pattern has passed scrutiny and the team will feature in the fourth edition of the IPL, which begins on April 8. After receiving the new ownership pattern from the Kochi consortium last Sunday, the IPL had deferred the final decision by a week. Today, after a two-hour long meeting that was attended by some of the Kochi owners, the IPL said it was satisfied with the submissions and assurances from the consortium.
"The IPL governing council confirmed that the Kochi franchisee had satisfactorily responded to the notice issued to them by the BCCI, and decided that the franchisee Kochi Cricket Pvt Ltd, would play in the IPL from 2011 onwards," the BCCI said in a release after the meeting.
The decision means that the IPL in 2011 will have at least eight teams, while uncertainty continues over the fate of the two franchises that were terminated - Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab. An arbitrator has since passed a stay order on Rajasthan's termination while the hearing of Punjab's appeal was stalled because the same arbitrator stepped down citing a conflict of interest.
"For the moment the IPL will have eight teams, until the courts decide on Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, which have entered into legal battles with the BCCI after they were terminated," an IPL official told ESPNcricinfo.
It was the fourth time the governing council was meeting to discuss whether to retain the faction-ridden Kochi franchise, which suffered from disputes right from its inception because of a tussle for ownership between the promoters and the investors. Annoyed and dissatisfied by the franchise's inability to sort out the internal problems, the IPL served a termination notice to Kochi on October 27, giving it a 30-day deadline to respond and explain why it should not be scrapped. The franchise was given two extensions before it finally submitted its restructured ownership pattern on November 28.
The investors in the Kochi consortium include corporate firms Anchor Earth, Parinee Developers, Anand Shyam Estates and Film Wave - which held 74% of the equity according to the original shareholding structure when they won the bid. The remaining 26% had been given to the family of Gaikwads - Shailendra, his brother Ravi and their parents plus a few others, all part of Rendezvous Sports - as free equity for services rendered in successfully bidding for the franchise.