Indian Premier League 2010

BCCI president, secretary cancelled bid process - Modi

Nagraj Gollapudi

March 9, 2010

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Shashank Manohar will be the new BCCI president, Mumbai, September 27, 2008
Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, wanted the tender process cancelled © AFP
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Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, has said Shashank Manohar and N Srinivasan, the Indian board's president and secretary, took the call - backed by other members of the league's governing council - to shelve the tender process for the two new franchises at Sunday's meeting in Mumbai. Modi's disclosure of the last-minute intervention - and the consequent drastic down scaling of the contentious tender clauses - seems to confirm reports of differences at the highest level in the IPL.

The process has been deferred to March 21 in Chennai, where the new tenders will be opened.

"That is correct. The president and secretary, and a few other members, did not agree with it," Modi told Cricinfo on Tuesday, when asked if the original clause, which required the bidder to have a net worth of $1 billion, was the reason behind the tender process being dropped. "So based upon complaints received from various companies they decided even before the (tender) process began the process should end."

As a result, the IPL amended the tender by removing the $1 billion net-worth clause. It also reduced the advance deposit from $100 million to $10 million and stipulated that the winning bidder would have to pay 10% of their bid within 48 hours instead of 100% of the amount.

At his media briefing on Sunday, Modi had conceded that the net-worth clause had put off many potential investors. Today, he confirmed to Cricinfo that the IPL had received two bids despite the barriers. "There were two letters produced, by the Sahara and Dainik Jagran groups, saying they could afford (to bid)," he said. "Sahara said, 'if we can afford to pay Rs 500 crore ($100 million) a year for the Indian team sponsorship, why are we being excluded? We can easily afford to pay Rs 150 crore ($30 million) a year for a franchise'."

Modi sought to put a positive spin on the tender process being deferred by two weeks, saying the league was extending the playing field. "I was happy we had two legitimate bids and [also] a late bid. As in the first tender, in 2008, when late bids were cancelled, so my recommendation was to accept the first two and cancel the third. But the governing council members felt we should allow more people to enter. [So] there will be more people coming in."

The abrupt cancellation of the tenders certainly upset one of the bidders, a consortium comprising the Videocon group, led by Venugopal Dhoot, Panchshil Realty's founder chairman Atul Chordia and Bollywood actors Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor. "We had a very good consortium between Saif, Kareena, Videocon and myself," Chordia told the Hindustan Times. "Our mood is off now, I don't think it will happen now. For the last eight days, we have worked so hard on it - things like branding, merchandising, paper work."

"When the BCCI have an efficient team with eminent lawyers and businessmen, why did they put stringent conditions in place and then take a U-turn? There were three legitimate bids. I just can't understand the motive behind this.

"They just cancelled the bid without giving any reason. We were completely legitimate, we had completed all the paper-work, we had fulfilled all the conditions. If they didn't want a stringent tender, why did they float one in the first place? The manner in which it was done was not at all sporting.

"The minimum valuation was $225 million, which is about Rs 1100 crore. So we had definitely put at least Rs 1100 crore. We must have spent more than Rs 10 crore to get everything organised."

When this was put to Modi, he said he sympathised with the sentiment but it was not the end of the road. "Of course, they put in a lot of hard work and I am sure it is hurting them at the end of the day. But it is important to understand that the governing council said many, many people had approached them and the criteria laid down by us was too stringent. And, so, we revised it."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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