Vijay Mallya, the Indian businessman, will lose ownership of Caribbean Premier League side Barbados Tridents ahead of the upcoming 2019 season. Damien O'Donohoe, the league CEO, has confirmed that talks are on with a number of prospective buyers, and new owners would be announced ahead of the player draft on May 22 in London.
Mallya, who earlier owned IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore, is currently fighting to avoid extradition from the United Kingdom to India, where he is alleged to have committed bank fraud, with authorities trying to recover millions in unpaid loans.
His mounting legal and financial troubles have also impacted the Tridents, which he took ownership of in 2016, with players yet to be paid in full for the 2018 season that finished in September.
"That's obviously been a big headache for us … (but) that issue in relation to Barbados will be getting resolved in the next two to three weeks," O'Donohoe was quoted by Guyana Chronicle as saying. "We will also have a change of ownership which we hope to announce in two weeks' time and that's a very experienced owner who is going to come in, and it's something that we're obviously excited about and we're looking forward to a fresh start at the end of this month."
Recently, the Tridents' marquee player Dwayne Smith criticised the CPL over their handling of the matter of non-payment of salaries.
However, CPL chief operating officer, Pete Russell, expressed gratitude to all affected players for their professionalism and assured that the payments issue would be resolved shortly.
"We just want to put on record how grateful we are to the patience of the players. They've been very understanding," he said. "For us it's just the worst possible scenario where you've got to assess circumstances where an owner for whatever reason can't pay players is just not acceptable really. It's been a process we've had to go through and we're at the end of the process and it's all positive going forward."
Russell was also confident that lessons have been learnt and there wouldn't be a repeat of the situation. "Working with Cricket West Indies to make sure that in the future players' salaries are ring-fenced prior to the tournament so we know that money is sitting there, so the players are protected because we will not experience this again, under any circumstances."
The 2019 CPL will run from September 4 to October 12, after it was revised to ensure it didn't clash with India's tour of West Indies.