IPL to meet over disputed Pune payment
The Indian Premier League's governing council is to meet on Wednesday to discuss a continuing dispute over the annual franchise fee to be paid by Pune Warriors India.
Sahara's actual franchise fee has been a contentious issue ever since they bought the Pune franchise for Rs 1702 crore ($370 million) in March 2010. Sahara had been demanding that the franchise fee from their original agreement should be recalculated since the minimum matches per year have been reduced to 14 from the 18 promised to them.
According to IPL officials, the owners of the Pune franchise, Sahara India Pariwar, in keeping with demand of a reduction of the franchise fee, have submitted a cheque of an amount which is less than mentioned in their original agreement with the BCCI. The deadline for submission of the fees was January 9. "Since the cheque is of lower value, the BCCI hasn't yet deposited it into the bank account," a BCCI insider said.
Sahara officials however deny that there is a shortfall in their franchise fee payment made to the BCCI this year.
The issue was also one of the major points of difference between Sahara and the BCCI that resulted in the team owners boycotting the 2012 IPL auction and threatening to pull out of the tournament. A joint media statement issued by Sahara and BCCI in February last year stated: "The BCCI and Sahara agree to start the arbitration proceedings initiated by Sahara through appointment of an arbitrator to address Sahara's claim for a reduction in franchise fee for 74 matches."
The arbitration proceedings, however, have still not got underway due to lack of consensus between the parties over the arbitrator.
The governing council is also likely to discuss the venue for Pune Warriors' home games. Sahara are entangled in a legal battle with the Maharashtra Cricket Association, the host association in Pune, over title rights for the Pune stadium that hosted Warriors' home games last year. The Bombay High Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of the case till January 30 but it was understood that the franchise has expressed its wish to have its home games moved out of Pune. The governing council has not yet taken a decision given that the IPL Season 6 is more than two months away.
The governing council is also likely to ratify the player transfers ahead of the player auction, to be held in Chennai on February 3.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo