SLPL franchises miss fees deadlines
The Sri Lanka Premier League has been thrown into uncertainty after the tournament failed to secure fees from its franchises, less than a month from its scheduled start date. Somerset Entertainment Ventures (SEV) CEO Sandip Bhammer, whose company is the marketing partner for the tournament, confirmed that not all franchises have paid their tournament fees, despite having breached two deadlines. Neither Bhammer or tournament director Ajit Jayasekara would comment on how many franchises had paid their fee.
The tournament draft was originally scheduled to take place on July 14, but was postponed by six days to allow the franchisees more time to pay. The second deadline of July 16 is also now likely to pass with at least some franchise fees outstanding. Each of the eight franchises are due to pay USD $4.33 million a year on average to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), in order to take part in the tournament. They also sustain operational costs in addition to that payment.
"SLC have made it clear that unless the franchises pay, they will not be able to take part in the draft," Bhammer said. "The state of it at the moment is that the SLC executive committee will meet on Wednesday and decide on what will happen. As far as SLC and SEV are concerned, we are ready."
The franchises' original contract with SLC had been for a period of seven years, but they had applied to have that extended to 15 years earlier in the year, amid fears the franchises would not be able to recover their costs in that time. All eight franchises, and SEV, are understood to have made a loss from the first season, while SLC achieved a profit.
"We will know more after the executive committee meeting tomorrow," Jayasekara said. "I will be presenting the situation to them then, and making the details known after that."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here