Bangalore to host IPL opener, final in Mumbai February 8, 2008

IPL rules out protection for national team sponsors

Shah Rukh Khan's Kolkata side will take on Vijay Mallya's Bangalore team in the first game of the IPL on April 18 © AFP
The Indian Premier League is sticking to its stance of no protection for national team sponsors. Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman and commissioner, said Cricket Australia's concerns over its contracted players endorsing rival sponsors was a matter for CA to resolve with Australian players.

Modi, who was speaking after a meeting in Mumbai between IPL officials and franchise owners, also said the league's governing council now had the option of waiving the two-year waiting period for newly retired players after receiving a green signal from the Indian board.

"No team sponsors will get protection from IPL. No, no and no," Modi said. "We [IPL and CA] don't have any row. It's between them [Australian players and CA]. The [teams'] clothing will have sponsors' logos similar to that of the Indian national team."

CA wants its global sponsors' rights to be protected when Australian players take part in the IPL. However, Modi has repeatedly warned CA that it was jeopardising its players' future with the IPL as the league would, if necessary, go ahead without Australian participation.

The proposed waiver of the two-year clause - a player cannot take part in the league for two years after his retirement unless he gets a no-objection certificate from his home cricket board - paves the way for the likes of Adam Gilchrist to play in the IPL immediately after his retirement in March.

"The BCCI has left it to the IPL chairman if the cooling off needs to be waived," Modi added, "We have not decided yet on it."

At the end of the meeting, at which the IPL governing council discussed the tournament format, marketing strategies and guidelines with the franchise owners and representatives of the match staging associations, Modi announced details of the league's schedule.

The IPL will kick off with the industrialist Vijay Mallya's Bangalore outfit taking on the Kolkata team, owned by actor Shah Rukh Khan, at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on April 18. The final, on June 1, and the two semi-finals on the preceding two days, will be held in Mumbai - in all probability at the Brabourne Stadium.

"Seven or eight ICC Elite Panel umpires along with 16 Indian umpires would officiate in the tournament," Modi said. "The match referees are being appointed and we already have the anti-corruption and anti-doping measures in place."

Modi also said that as a pioneering move, the IPL will sell tickets through the internet and on mobile phone networks. "Ticketpro, a world renowned ticketing agency who did the ticketing for the Bangalore Test [against Pakistan], has been entrusted with the task of selling tickets for IPL matches. It will be done on-line and through mobiles."

Modi said that the title sponsors for the event would be decided on February 13 while the date for the players' auction would be decided on February 9 after another round of meeting with the franchise owners when the various contracted players availability will be disclosed.