Deccan Chargers move court over termination

Shikhar Dhawan loses his off bail to Zaheer Khan AFP

The fate of the IPL's Deccan Chargers franchise, which was terminated on Friday, is up in the air with the matter now in court and the BCCI saying it will wait for a ruling before deciding on floating a tender for a new franchise. The team's owners challenged their expulsion from the IPL through a petition in the Bombay High Court, which will hear the matter on Monday.

Though there was no official word from the Chargers, there was a rumour that the court had stayed the termination, prompting the BCCI to issue a brief statement: "The court heard both parties, and did not pass any order staying the termination. The matter has been placed for hearing on Monday."

Though the development has inhibited the board's next course of action, it is understood that an alternative plan to get a new franchise has already been put in place by the board's marketing committee, which met in Chennai on Saturday morning.

"The matter is in court and sub judice. Everything is dependent on the court order. We cannot as yet finalise anything with regard to our future course of action," a BCCI working committee official said.

Another board official said Chargers were definitely not returning. "They are out. They are no longer in the IPL." Asked whether plans were afoot to float a tender for a new franchise, the official said: "The BCCI is going ahead with a new tender for the ninth team. But that team will not be based in Hyderabad."

Though nothing has been finalised, officials said the board was thinking of having as many as nine cities on the shortlist, including Kanpur, Ahmedabad and Indore.

Officials said the players who represented Chargers in IPL 5 would be paid their dues by the board: "The BCCI will take care of them." But there was no clarity yet over what would happen to the players if a new franchise came into existence. That decision, officials said, would be taken at a later stage.

The decision to scrap the contract of the Hyderabad-based franchise was taken late on Friday evening after the board called for an emergency IPL governing council meeting. Last month, taking stock of the financial troubles that Deccan Chargers Holdings Limited (DCHL), the franchise owners, had got themselves enmeshed in, the BCCI working committee set a deadline of a month for the company to settle all its issues. The deadline expired at 5pm on September 15.

However, the Chargers, who had put the franchise on sale but rejected the sole bid received on Thursday, sent the BCCI a "lawyers notice" saying even if DCHL might have committed any "breaches" of the IPL contract, the BCCI should allow more time to settle its disputes.

"By this, Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd has clearly admitted its inability to cure its breaches within the time stipulated in the BCCI notice, despite every bit of assistance from the BCCI," a board release, issued late on Friday, said. "Since the month of May, BCCI has received repeated assurances that the overdue player fees would be paid; all of these promises have been unfulfilled.

"Considering the stated position of the Deccan franchise to refuse to rectify the various defaults, including payments to players, foreign boards etc, as also the deleterious effect such conduct would have on the reputation of the IPL and the franchise itself, a decision was taken to forthwith terminate the Deccan Chargers franchise."

18:18 GMT, September 15: The article has been updated