The squabbling Kochi IPL franchise on Sunday got yet another breather from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which decided to defer the decision on its fate till December 5 after the consortium's investors reached a last-minute agreement over their shareholding pattern.
At a meeting of the Indian Premier League's Governing Council in Nagpur, the BCCI deferred the decision on the franchise for a third time after the expiry of a month-long deadline given to it for sorting out its internal bickering.
"They have disclosed their ownership pattern. Our legal experts will study the papers. There was no discussion with the investors because we are not legal experts. BCCI will take a decision on December 5 in Mumbai, " BCCI president Shashank Manohar told reporters after the meeting.
Barely seven months after becoming the second most costliest team in the Twenty20 tournament, Kochi was on the verge of being thrown out of the event.
But the owners of the beleaguered franchise made a last ditch attempt to save the outfit by reaching a compromise last night.
"Apparently, Kochi sent across some sort of correspondence last evening to the BCCI but it is upto the cricket board to accept that," sources close to the development said.
"We do not yet know that they (BCCI) will be convinced. Else they will float the tenders (for a new team)," they added.
Before the compromise, the investors of the franchise, which was bought for a staggering sum of Rs 1533.33 crore, had written to the BCCI informing them of their intention to withdraw from the IPL.
That letter was sent after the BCCI, which had on October 10 expelled Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals for allegedly violating contractual agreements, gave a termination notice of 30 days to the franchise to sort out internal disputes regarding the shareholding pattern.
The investors in the consortium -- Anchor Earth, Parinee Developers, Rosy Blue and Film Wave -- hold 74 per cent of the equity.
The remaining 26 per cent lies with the Gaikwad family -- Shailendra, his brother Ravi and their parents all part of Rendezvous Sports World -- as free equity for services rendered while bidding.
It is this 26 per cent which became a bone of contention among the stakeholders as the investors were in no mood to give free equity to the Gaikwad family.
The Gaikwads, on their part, initially refused to part with the equity but have now agreed to forego at least some of it to put an end to the squabbling which threatens the very existence of the team.
The BCCI has made it clear that eight teams will take part in the fourth edition of the league scheduled from April 8, just six days after the World Cup.