The IPL mess
The news that the new BCCI have terminated the IPL franchise contracts of the Rajistan Royals and the Pubjab Kings XI came as a bit of a shock to everyone who follows the movings of the IPL. The Kochi franchise have also been “put on notice” given 10 days to get their shit together.
On the one hand, this is a bold move to try and clean up the IPL which has been tainted with the shit of all things Modi. Despite claims from the BCCI that the two franchises were terminated because of irregularities over accounting and ownership matters (which there is evidence to support), it does seem that the BCCI and Srinivasan in particular are just trying to eradicate anything or anyone with any connection to Modi. This may not be a bad thing, there was a distinctly corrupt stench about the IPL with Modi in charge.
On the other hand, have we just moved to a equally dictatorial, autrocractic and random system? The BCCI have not handled this very well. They terminated the contracts with Royals and Kings with no notice and no discussions or negotiations. Whereas they have given Kochi some time to sort themselves out.
There have been some staggering allegations today which highlight the autocratic, undemocratic and arrogant nature of the new BCCI although they are denying them. They related to some alleged SMSs sent from the BCCI’s secretary N Srinivasan, (who is also co-owner of the Chennai Super Kings franchise)
The first, sent from his cellphone to one particular franchise, reads:
“As we have been saying. Please align yourself with us. Or everyone will get the same taste of the medicine we have given today to RR and Kxip. Owners should not think they are above the Bcci”
The follow up message, sent to the same franchise, reads:
“You should be happy we allow you to participate. We know how to clip your wings. President and I have decided we will run the IPL the way we want to and after all its our property. You can either be a part of it or we can find a way for you to get out. We will throw Lalit Modi and anyone attached with him. So best avoid talking to him.”
The franchise in question (unnamed) has been sharing this communication with others; the other IPL franchise owners are understood to be putting their heads together to figure out a common response to the latest dictats from the BCCI. I think we’re all expecting there to be a lot more news over the coming days and weeks followed by some hefty law suits from all directions.
In a reaction to this story, the BCCI has said the messages were not sent with N Srinivasan’s knowledge. BCCI’s Chief Administrative Officer said, “The Board would like to clarify that no such messages have been sent from his mobile. This is clearly a case of foul play, and complaints to that effect are being lodged with the concerned Mobile phone service, and the Police, for immediate action.”
Now, of course, this is probably the sort of thing that Modi would try to do, whether he has the technological capability from his hiding place to get proxy text messages sent from someone else’s mobile is pretty questionable.
What does all this mean for the IPL?
We’ve been told that the format for IPL4 will be based on 8 teams. If the Kochi franchise meet the BCCI requirements then there will be no opportunity for bids from new franchises. The competition will contain 8 teams and therefore a reduced number of matches. All of the business plans and broadcasting contracts were based on a 10 team, 94 match tournament.
The broadcast rights owner (Sony) were due to be paying a higher amount for IPL4 but surely they won’t want to if there are to be many less matches?
The existing franchises will also be less than happy with the reduced format as they will receive far less revenue but will still have whacking wage and auction bills.
There is also the issue that Indian courts are currently considering a case which challenges the BCCI change in constitution which allowed for Srinivasan to be the Secretary whilst still being the owner of an IPL franchise (Chennai Superkings). A conflict of interests of almost staggering proportion.
The Indian court will make its ruling sometime soon but have made some early comments that would have made you or I almost certainly consider resignation. The BCCI think that the position is entirely fine because Srinivasan asked permission before he bid for the CSK franchise. Oh well that’s alright then.
You can’t help but feel we’ve just moved from a Modi mess to a different type of farce.
The IPL could and can be a real force for promotion of the sport but not if it is perpetually plagued by off-field stories about the farcical nature of its administration.