The IPL mess May 8, 2010

IMG denies role in ECB allegations

Cricinfo staff

IMG, the event management company, has denied allegations that they were involved in helping set up a parallel IPL in England, and that they just facilitated an informal meeting between county representatives and Lalit Modi.

Their response comes after ECB chairman Giles Clarke had sent an email to the BCCI, alleging that the suspended IPL chairman Modi was trying to induce the counties into activities that could prove "detrimental to Indian cricket, English cricket and world cricket at large."

"IMG has a 50-year record of integrity and probity in the business of sport and at all times IMG respects the authority and sovereignty of official federations and governing bodies," the company said in a statement. "IMG has not been involved in any plans of the kind suggested in the quotes attributed to Mr Clarke.

"Representatives of certain ECB member-counties requested a meeting with Mr Lalit Modi through IMG. An informal lunch meeting subsequently took place on 31st March 2010 in Delhi and was attended by IMG executives. The matters discussed at the lunch included a general conversation about the challenges currently facing English cricket and a theoretical discussion about the possible modelling and commercial potential of an English Twenty20 cricket competition.

"As a matter of formality it was stated by IMG, and acknowledged by all present prior to this theoretical discussion, that the sovereignty and processes of the ECB must at all times be respected as must the relevant rules of all other official cricket bodies, including the ICC. Any suggestion otherwise is baseless, untrue and defamatory. IMG has been involved in no subsequent discussions regarding any of the matters discussed at this meeting."

Clarke's accusations forced the BCCI to slap a second show-cause notice on Modi in two weeks, after the board suspended him from all BCCI positions including that as the chairman of the IPL and pressed five specific charges ranging from financial impropriety to "behavioral pattern."

However, representatives of the counties said the issue of their meeting with Modi was overblown, and that they were in India only on a fact-finding mission. Yorkshire's chief executive, Stewart Regan clarified that they met Modi to find out more about how the IPL has gone from nowhere to being one of the biggest sporting businesses in the world inside two years.