IPL 4 to have eight teams irrespective of Kochi fate

Shashank Manohar at a press conference AFP

The BCCI have informally charted out a backup plan for the IPL should the Kochi franchise consortium be unable to settle their ownership dispute within a month. A BCCI official present at the meetings told ESPNcricinfo that should the Kochi franchise have to be terminated within a month, "there will be a tender issued for a new franchise once the termination is finalised."

It is reliably learnt that the BCCI is keen on having eight teams compete in IPL 4. The governing council kept the worst case scenario around the Kochi deadlock in mind at the Nagpur meeting in which BCCI president Shashank Manohar declared that the franchise would get 30 days to sort out its differences. An official said, "informal discussions took place to decide on the roadmap in case Kochi fails and they were told that was one option."

The official also said it was "definite" that there would be an eighth IPL team, instead of seven. The number of teams would automatically impact on the number of matches and from them, the television revenue to be earned by the IPL, a percentage of which is distributed among the franchises, forming a bulk of their annual revenues.

The date of the next player auction was not discussed in Nagpur. The official said, "unless the teams are decided the players cannot be picked." Under the original franchise agreements, player contracts were valid only for three years with the majority of players going into the central auction pool before the fourth season. The auction was first expected to take place first in August and later in November, but it now appears likely to be postponed again. A franchise official has said that the BCCI has told them unofficially that the auction will take place in January. BCCI president Shashank Manohar, speaking to ESPNcricinfo last week had said, "An auction can take place at any time - all that has to be ensured is that players are available and signed on seven days before the first game."

In September, the BCCI had drawn up a new IPL schedule involving ten teams and 74 matches with play-offs but in just over a month, terminated the Rajasthan Royals and King's XI Punjab franchises.