IPL news November 21, 2012

BCCI ends legal tussle with Kings XI Punjab

On the day they announced a new title sponsor for the IPL, the BCCI has also brought an end to its litigation with Kings XI Punjab, which had gone on for almost two years.

The BCCI top brass and KXIP officials, who met in Mumbai on the sidelines of the BCCI working committee and marketing committee meetings, managed to sort out all the impending issues. "It was decided that the franchise will be fined Rs 1 crore (approx USD 181,270) for their breaches so far, and there will be no further legal proceedings between the parties," an insider revealed to ESPNcricinfo. This effectively means that the arbitration proceedings that hadn't started since the court appointed an arbitrator in April earlier this year, will not take off at all.

The legal tussle between the BCCI and the franchise owners had gone on from December 15, 2010 when the Bombay High Court had stayed the termination of Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals, the franchises who were terminated by the BCCI over alleged breach of franchisee agreements. While the litigation had not affected the Chandigarh-based team's participation in the fourth and fifth edition of the IPL, the team's future in the tournament was far from secure.

In October 2010, the BCCI had terminated the franchise agreement with KPH Dream Cricket Pvt Ltd, the promoters of KXIP, on two counts, according to the termination notice sent to the franchise. Firstly, for having "stepped into the shoes of the original bidder on the date of award of the Franchisee without being a "group company or entity controlled by the bidder". This transgression would shake very foundation of the tender process otherwise meant to eliminate any possibility of successful bids being converted into marketing opportunities even prior to the award of the Franchisee rights." Secondly, "Clear violation of the franchise agreement, more particularly clause 10.1, 10.2(a) and 10.3. These violations have taken place more than once."

However, the team owners moved the court after that and the termination was stayed by the Bombay High Court. The court then appointed an arbitrator to resolve the impending issues. As a result, there was a lot of confusion over the number of teams to have featured in the 2011 edition of the Twenty20 league. Eventually, the drama over KXIP's participation was over days before the player auction that was held in Bangalore in January 2011.

With this agreement, the BCCI has, within the space of a month, made several announcements that have bolstered the IPL's image both in public and in the market. In October, the Sun Group, a south Indian media conglomerate was announced as the new owners of the beleaguered Hyderabad franchise last month and on Wednesday, a new title sponsorship was awarded to PepsiCo.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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