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BCCI calls Sahara withdrawal 'unfortunate'

Nagraj Gollapudi

February 4, 2012

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A

Sundar Raman, chief executive of the IPL
Sundar Raman: "There is no action that is required to be taken because it is not mandatory for them to sit in the auction" © Getty Images
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The BCCI has said it was "unfortunate" that Sahara India Parivar had chosen to withdraw their ownership of the Pune Warriors IPL franchise, as well as their sponsorship of the Indian team. However, Rajeev Shukla, the IPL chairman, and one of the BCCI vice-presidents, said that the board needed a formal intimation in writing from Sahara before they could decide on a future course of action.

The Sahara decision, which was made public through a media release, caught everyone, including the BCCI unawares. The announcement of their decision came an hour before the IPL player auction was set to commence in Bangalore.

"It is unfortunate," Shukla said at the end of the bidding for the marquee players. "[But] unless we get something in writing then only we will be reacting. If they want it [their contract] terminated, they want to withdraw [from the IPL], then we will decide [once we get official confirmation]," Shukla said.

Officials from the Warriors were not present at the auction either, but Sundar Raman, the IPL chief executive, made it clear that they had the right to stay away. "There is no action that is required to be taken because it is not mandatory for them to sit in the auction," Raman said. "Pune Warriors are there or not there is not communicated to us still. As the situation arises we would respond to it.

In a statement released to the press earlier today, Sushanto Roy, the managing director of Sahara Adventure Sports Limited, said that "it was an emotional decision for us to start this sponsorship but our emotions were never appreciated and many genuine situations, were not given due consideration at all."

Roy listed a slew of instances in which he felt Sahara's requests were not entertained by the BCCI, most of which concerned the IPL. Among them was their disqualification from bidding for a franchise in 2008 and their attempts to reduce the franchise fee when the number of matches was cut down from 94 to 74 for the 2011 IPL. Their most recent concern was over the availability of Yuvraj Singh, the Pune captain, who is undergoing treatment for a non-malignant tumour in his lungs and will not be able to participate in the fifth season,

According to the BCCI, Sahara wanted the amount of Yuvraj's contact added to their auction purse, giving them US$3.4 million in total, but the IPL was not prepared to do that. "The rules are very clear and are consistent with previous seasons: Sahara Adventure Sports Limited may take a replacement following the 2012 Auction," the BCCI said in a statement of its own. "Additionally, the trading window will re-open on February 6 and Sahara Adventure Sports Limited will then have a further opportunity to take new players."

Raman said it would be inappropriate on the IPL's part to respond without getting anything in writing from Sahara. "The fact they chose not participate in the auction and having sent a press release is indeed unfortunate. Because as a federation they should have informed us of their concerns which if they wanted to discontinue their association officially in writing, which has not happened."

According to Raman, Sahara could terminate the contract only after "invoking" the relevant clause stated in the franchise agreement. "The contract terms is very clear as far as the franchise agreement is concerned and they need to invoke under the termination clause is as per the contract. We will be able to respond only then. Today we are reacting to something that has been issued as a press release, which is something, as the chairman said without getting any official intimation."

However, Raman did not shy away from taking a shot at Sahara, who he said were trying to bend the rules to suit their needs. "The truth is also they had requested flexibility and amendments to the regulations which suited them, and which was, in the opinion of the IPL, unfair to the eight other franchises," Raman said. "The IPL was not prepared to grant an exception to one franchise to be sitting in the auction room with a much higher purse than every other franchise as that defeats the purpose of the regulation."

When asked if the BCCI might have been a little flexible with Sahara given that they have enjoyed a long-standing relationship for more than decade, Raman said that such a move would have been to the detriment of the other eight franchises. "We live with the franchises on a day-to-day basis. We have to be fair to everyone. You look around and ask the other franchises if that would've been fair for them [Warriors] to be allowed to add the additional auction purse and see the response."

Officials from Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings said they had no comment as the regulator [of the IPL] was the right entity to deal with the matter.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by cricindia4life on (February 6, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

Everybody is all gaga over how BCCI got "slapped" in the face. But in my honest opinion, Sahara's behavior was not appropriate at all. 1. It's not fair for them to want extra money at the auction. Every franchise takes a risk of having their star players sustain injuries or illnesses. It's a business transaction and there's risk associated with it. You try to mitigate it by other means than asking for favors from the competitors. 2. Asking for a return on their purchase price because they played less games than promised - ridiculous behavior for a business. 3. Asking for an open auction when they stepped into the playing field - also childish behavior. You are late to the market, you have to live with the consequences. 4. As for their initial bid during IPL 1, we don't know why they didn't get it in the first place. For all we know, maybe BCCI was within its rights to not award Sahara a franchise then. 5. Warriors' staff was caught off-guard - at least let them know ahead of time.

Posted by Kishuv on (February 6, 2012, 13:50 GMT)

Seriously at last Sahara realised that..and am happy to see this IPL will take a serious turn...am not wishing to shut down IPL keep it to limited

Because IPL definately Not only Indian cricket world cricket is spoiling..the whole game is turns to commercial now

Posted by Abhimanyu on (February 6, 2012, 8:59 GMT)

@GlobalCricketLover, you are asking the right questions. I support SAHARA and not IPL because a corrupt body called BCCI is running it. Good to see SAHARA investing for underprivileged sports achievers and for social development initiatives for the country rather then giving it away to a corrupt organisation. I can tell you that IPL will not remain for long now, unless BCCI is cleansed from the inside out which is highly unlikely. And ICL will be reborn when IPL totally disappear. Also I am pretty darn sure that Mr. Srinivasan's (current BCCI president and also the owner of Chennai Super Kings) company called India Cements will be sponsoring the Indian team very soon. GOD BLESS SAHARA!!

Posted by   on (February 4, 2012, 17:01 GMT)

I like 2 see IPL with 6 competitive teams. Whole tournament finish in 20 days. 10 teams on IPL4 way 2 much cricket of 50+ days. No jealousy on India, to be honest IPL is spoiling world cricket lil 2 much. There will b more + things if it would reduce to 6/7 teams.

Posted by Pavan_2020 on (February 4, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

Super decision by sahara -love it!!!

Posted by   on (February 4, 2012, 15:07 GMT)

i guess sahara may hv taken this decision b'coz of some sort of financial crunch..... nywez bad newzzzz as far as followers r concern.....

Posted by   on (February 4, 2012, 13:48 GMT)

this is not an Indian team!!! ...it is a registered society's team (BCCI is a registered society) ...I wonder what will happen the day Sports Authority of India (the real govt. body representing India) starts a cricket team ..the SAI team might be crap ...but at least it will be a truly Indian team ...not some money minting society's team!

Posted by   on (February 4, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

Great ....... really very sad for BCCI this is a new mark in the future of the Indian Cricket and this IPL is not going to be a great hit because overdose is harmful for benefit of the game .. BCCI needs to take lesson and must take some good innovative steps to do good for the game really this is a bad news for all the Indian ....

Posted by   on (February 4, 2012, 13:08 GMT)

Please , Indian cricket fan, boycot the IPL, leave those stadiums empty. Do not give your valued money to these corruption people unless they bring the real cricket back. See how indian team suffering in Eng/Aus.

Posted by GlobalCricketLover on (February 4, 2012, 13:04 GMT)

Mr. Raman, what were you doing when 6 franchises were against '4 player retention' that was favoring only CSK and MI? were those franchises not disadvantaged then? And what about changing of the order of players during last year auction? why were no explanations given for that sudden change which was benefitting only CSK?

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