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February 16, 2008
After its protracted contracts-related dispute with Cricket Australia, the Indian Premier League has a potential problem closer home - the ticketing arrangement it has with the associations hosting the IPL matches. The Cricket Association of Bengal, where matches of the Kolkata franchise will be played, believes the present ticketing plan has not taken into the account the usual match-day arrangement with its members and fears legal complications arising out of it.
The specific issue here is that the CAB will be entitled to 20 per cent of the tickets as complimentaries for IPL matches, far below what it offers its members for regular games at Eden Gardens. The CAB comprises 121 units - 35 first-division clubs, 65 second-division clubs and the rest universities and smaller teams - and four categories of members.
The CAB president, Prasun Mukherjee, has brought this to the attention of IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, who has asked him to sort it out or risk the Kolkata matches being shifted to Ahmedabad. Mukherjee has called a working committee meeting on February 18 to discuss the issue and to fix a date for a special general body meeting, where a long-term solution, including amendments to the constitution, can be discussed.
The change, Mukherjee wrote in a letter to Modi, could include the insertion of an addendum, that traditional arrangements with members and the associations will not apply to games organised under the control of the IPL.
To bring about that amendment, according to the CAB rules, they would have to get a 3/4th majority - 91 out of 121 votes.
The CAB secretary, Samar Pal, told Cricinfo he was confident the crisis would blow over soon. "Twenty per cent of the capacity means 18,000 seats", Pal said. "And we have seven IPL games at Eden Gardens. So we will make sure that the members get to watch at least one game. We will also offer a monetary compensation of Rs 2 lakh [$5000} to each unit."
Sources told Cricinfo that the compensation may not be accepted by the bigger clubs but Pal said he saw no problem.
The problem does not appear likely to spread to other staging associations, some of whom Cricinfo spoke to on Saturday. The Tamil Nadu and Delhi state associations said they have no major issue with the 20% arrangement and see it as an internal matter for the CAB. "We do not have to contend with the large strength of members as the CAB and are confident of rotating matches between members," Kasi Viswanathan, the TNCA's secretary said. The DDCA secretary SP Bansal also saw it as a non-issue for his association.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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