The BCCI has terminated the troubled Deccan Chargers franchise, winners of IPL 2009, after an emergency league governing council meeting in Chennai on Friday. Senior BCCI officials told ESPNcricinfo that the tender for a new franchise would be issued on Saturday.
A BCCI statement issued late on Friday night said the board's action came after what it called a "sudden change of stance by the franchise" regarding its commitments and the board's belief that any further extension of time to the franchise owners would "seriously prejudice the interests of the players."
"This evening, the BCCI received a lawyers' notice invoking arbitration from the franchise stating that it had not committed any breaches and even if such breaches were committed, the BCCI should not act to terminate the franchise till Yes Bank Ltd furnishes sufficient finance to cure the breaches," the statement said. "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. 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."
The BCCI marketing committee is scheduled to meet in Chennai on Saturday morning to discuss and finalise the tender to add a team to the IPL. A board official said there would be a shortlist of cities for the bidders to choose from, with the location of the new franchise to be decided by the highest bid for one of those cities.
The fate of the players is not yet clear; they might be retained by the next buyer or be put up for auction for the other IPL teams. Chargers' squad boasted some of the world's top current players, including Dale Steyn, Kumar Sangakkara, Cameron White, Ishant Sharma and JP Duminy. The coach is the Australian, Darren Lehmann.
Deccan's IPL history summed up the romance of cricket; bottom of the league in their first season, they came together in 2009 under Adam Gilchrist to win the tournament in South Africa. Their performance in subsequent seasons, however, has been below-par.
Friday's developments bring the curtains down on an issue that has dragged on for three-odd months after the team's owners, Deccan Chronicles Holdings Limited (DCHL), ran into financial problems. Last month, the banks knocked on the BCCI's doors to help them out, after which the board had set a deadline of September 15 for Chargers to clear all their dues including player payments and report with a clean slate. However, DCHL said they were unable to sort out the problems and formally placed the team up for sale on September 6.
The owners and the BCCI set September 13 as the auction date but received only one bid, for Rs 900 crore ($164 million) from PVP Ventures, a Hyderabad-based urban infrastructure and film production company. DCHL rejected the bid as it considered the price and terms unsuitable but the BCCI may now offer PVP a second chance to buy the team.
DCHL had till 5 pm on Saturday to come up with a solution but the termination one day ahead implies they had informed the BCCI about their inability to do so.