The IPL Mess December 6, 2010

Unexpected reversals leave IPL preparations in disarray


The BCCI has convened a special general body meeting (SGM) in Mumbai on Saturday to discuss the reappointment of the board's disciplinary committee. The tenure of the committee, which is investigating the conduct of former IPL chairman Lalit Modi, expired at September's annual general body meeting. The board, however, failed to reappoint or reconstitute it, technically stripping it of its existence. The BCCI secretary N Srinivasan told PTI news agency that the reappointment of the committee was "a minor thing" which had been pointed out by Modi's lawyer, Mehmood Abdi last month.

The SGM, ostensibly to tackle a "minor" issue, will be held in the backdrop of several major, unexpected reversals for a board that is usually used to getting its own way. One of the BCCI's more serious challenges is the stuttering preparation for IPL 2011.

The past six months have been dogged by the controversial termination of two franchises (Rajasthan Royals and the Kings XI Punjab), and a protracted ownership-pattern dispute over a third, (the new Kochi franchise). As a result of the controversies, the player auction has been delayed by several months and going by the BCCI's legal battles, could well be held in the middle of the 2011 World Cup.

The confusion over the eventual number of teams that will be involved next season affects every component of the world's most lucrative domestic league: its teams/ franchises, its players and its very structure. IPL 2011 now faces several scenarios:

  • If both expelled teams take part in the player auction, it will become much harder to prevent them at a later date from playing in the IPL, as any players who sign with them would then be left without a team.

  • The league is currently slated to have eight teams playing each other home and away, just like in the first three seasons. A ninth team would naturally result in an unbalanced schedule, while 10 teams could increase the overall number of fixtures and once again rake up the issue of player burnout.

  • The board is considering delaying the player auction until March, by which time its legal issues are expected to be resolved, and it will know how many teams will be playing. That would, however, result in the player auction clashing with the World Cup and will prevent teams from being able to use their players in promotions and advertising campaigns, potentially causing them to breach their obligations to their sponsors.

Rajasthan are already back in the league less than two months after being 'terminated' due to an interim stay order from Justice Srikrishna, the arbitor in the case. While the board has appealed against Srikrishna's ruling to the Bombay High Court, legal opinion suggests it will be difficult to overturn his order. There is also believed to be a sentiment within the IPL governing council that the cases of Rajasthan and Punjab are "reasonably strong", and that the BCCI's leadership is going after too many people at the same time.

Srikrishna has restored Rajasthan's rights under the franchise agreement, including the right to take part in the player auction. Srikrishna also stated that the BCCI could not make any rules that would adversely affect Rajasthan, for example changing any of the league's rules, hampering the board's ability to alter its plans as the legal cases unfold. Srikrishna may have stepped down from the Punjab hearing, but it is believed that the stay in favour of Rajasthan could have a bearing on their case when it comes up for hearing.

Punjab accused the board of "deliberately" delaying its proceedings so that the December 6 deadline for the retention of select players in each team would expire, leaving Punjab looking in from the outside. The Bombay High Court ruled in Punjab's favour, and extended the deadline to December 8, handing the BCCI yet another setback, and suggesting Punjab has a case against the board.

The longer the cases drag on, the harder it becomes for the board, and the franchises, to plan for the 2011 tournament.

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 9, 2010, 10:49 GMT

    Its better to have a back up plan, so that 10 teams can be accomodated. Already we have the plan for 8 teams. So it will not be harder to plan that. The only issue i foresee is if the court proceedings take long time then there will be a pblm. If everything closes smoothly by Jan end, then defnly IPL4 will rock. Also, cricket fans will not relate this with WC win or loss. This is a combination of players playing for a state. If England is not winning the WC football do you think people wont watch the EPL. So what ever happens, IPL4 will be watched as it is a mouth watering contest in the recent cricket history. So if BCCI, Court and Franchise are all narrowed down to one point asap then IPL 4 will be a rocking one.

  • Kalyan on December 7, 2010, 20:31 GMT

    Scrap IPL and never bring it back. More test cricket is what the game needs.

  • Lukesh on December 7, 2010, 14:50 GMT

    Honestly, the best thing for the IPL is to scrap the 2011 season so they have atleast a year to sort everything out, and then come back in 2012.

  • Dummy4 on December 7, 2010, 10:42 GMT

    well at least now with all mess being settled for IPL-4 we can expect some cricket....but in all this mess up the new organizing committee have axed not only just two franchises but also eliminated two of the north Indian teams......and have added another 2 south indian franchised teams.....Now the only matter of the concern for me is that are these new organizing committee members are thinking that Punjab & Rajasthan people are gonna support Kochi or Pune team.....earlier IPL franchises were spread all over India, hence every one was included to with most of the teams representing south india i really doubt weather this IPL will be as popular as it was earlier.......!!!!!!

  • Harmon on December 7, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    @Ian Macintyre: You r right to say that The IPL just cant be compared to the Olympics & Tour de France. But who makes such a claim? "manifantasticcheema" made no such claim. U r trying to make a rebuttal to an argument that manifantasticcheema didn't make.Are MLB/NBA truly world class events for you? They too r domestic events just like IPL and much more extant. IPL has made tremendous impact in several ways in the cricket world, give it some more time. The structure of IPL is still not done, it is still growing, it will get stable only in a few years. The recent churn is cos of a lot of reasons but they will all only lead to a better league.To call IPL a 3 yr old mismanaged event is being ignorant and obtuse else why is the model being replicated in SL & Aus? Also IPL isn't facile at all. Apart from a few incompetent Aussie players, everyone else falls for it. I am no fan of BCCI, it is a tyrant IMO but IPL is diff from BCCI. Pls don try to pull it down needlessly.

  • nawaz on December 7, 2010, 8:37 GMT

    IPL is nothing more than a party that make players get out of form & gentlemen label

  • Ajay on December 7, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    I really hate this organization BCCI.They could not even muster up a cricket team for Asian games where a couple of gold medals more would have allowed india finish in top 5 of medal list.I hope the IPL is doomed!!

  • Ajay on December 7, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    In this whole mess is anybody in the BCCI even thinking about the minor matter of India vs SA test fixtures which a few mortals are dubbing as test championiship.

  • Vikram on December 7, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    Whatever happens,this time the IPL will succeed only if India wins this years world cup.If they don't,IPL is dead and buried at least in the 2011 season.We all saw the out rage of fans during the first round exit in the previous world cup and you can expect the same this time if they don't win or at least make the semi-finals.No fan is going to pay money to watch IPL when they have already been deprived of seeing their team win the world cup.So it will all boil down to whether India does well in the world cup or not!

  • Dummy4 on December 7, 2010, 7:14 GMT

    @ ian well said mate ...sadly we indians have bit of frog in well mentality and think that hosting an IPL event is some sort of national justification of "rising india" blah blah ..

    To all those supporters of IPL please tell me that this year i.e 2011 will guyz really have the patience to watch a mickey mouse event after equally long world cup and Hosting IPL has not even resulted in newer staduims being bulit

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