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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Sponsor trouble for Ganguly academy

Sponsor trouble for Ganguly academy

September 18, 2006 14:09 IST

Sourav Ganguly's problems seem to be never ending.

Even as the former Indian skipper desperately awaits a recall to Indian cricket team, major differences have cropped up with the main sponsor of his cricket academy launched with much fanfare last year.

Ganguly's elder brother Snehasis Ganguly complained that electronics major Videocon has not been meeting the financial comittments made at the launch of the academy in October last year.

"As per our understanding they (Videocon) were to pay Rs. 90 lakh towards infrastructure cost but till date we have got Rs. 85 lakh," Snehasis, who is vice-chariman of 22 Yards, the company floated to run the academy, said in Kolkata on Monday.

He said that there were provisions for further escalation in cost plus part of the monthly expenses.

"You can understand how costly the cricket gears and other supports equipments like bowling machines are now a days."

When asked whether a change in attitude of sponsor has something to do with Ganguly's declining status as a cricket super-star, Snehasis refrained from making any comment.

When approached for comment, Goutam Sengupta, Chief Operating Officer of Videocon East India, dismissed the idea of any differences or a change in their attitude.

"When we entered into the project Sourav was no longer the skipper of Indian team and we agreed to support the academy because Sourav was very dear to us as a cricketer," Sengupta said.

Reiterating that his company was committed to Sourav's academy, Sengupta said, "we have already paid them the initial committed amount and if there is any shortfall in that it will be met."

Asked about the escalation clause and the maintenance cost, he said "when the academy had started last year, we had no idea about how it runs. But now we feel that there is a revenue generating element which can meet the expenses of the academy."

"As per our estimates the monthly income of the academy could be more than Rs two lakh taking into account fees collected from the boys joining the academy," Sengupta said adding, "we have proposed to the committee running the academy for an assessment of the revenue generated from the academy and if still there is a shortfall, we are ready to meet that."

Ganguly as the chairman of 22 Yards and Snehasis are members of the committee, which also has two representatives from Videocon, West Bengal Urban Development minister Asoke Bhattacharya and few state officials.

Asked about revenue generated by the academy, Snehasis confirmed that they charge Rs 400 per month from more than 900 trainees already enrolled in the academy which would mean that the academy must be earning more than Rs 3.5 lakh per month.

He also said that they charge Rs 3000 as entry fee from the trainees while the running cost of the academy is around Rs 2.5 lakh per month.

Another company, Pogo potato chip maker, has also been enrolled as co-sponsors of the academy, Snehasis said.

Incidentally Pogo is the only company which continues to use Sourav as brand ambassador even though rest of all the big companies have already deserted him.

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