Unable to resolve their differences, the Kochi franchise have withdrawn from the Indian Premier League (IPL) barely two days before the expiry of their one-month deadline, paving the way for the Board of Control for Cricket in India to issue a new tender for a replacement team.
The IPL's Governing Council will meet in Nagpur on November 28 to discuss the issue and is likely float a new tender.
"The IPL Kochi team has sent a letter to BCCI president Shashank Manohar withdrawing from the league. The IPL Governing Council will now deliberate on the issue and take a decision on the matter," a top source said.
The BCCI had given IPL Kochi termination notice of 30 days to sort out its problems but the wrangling within the consortium continued nonetheless.
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 in bidding for the franchise.
It is this 26 per cent which has become a bone of contention among the stakeholders as the investors are in no mood to give free equity to Gaikwad family.
The Gaikwads, on their part, have refused to part with the equity.
The BCCI had 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.
Indications of Kochi pulling out emerged through Shashi Tharoor's tweets.
"Delighted about Somdev DevVarman's second gold. Makes up4 disappointing news re Kerala IPL team's apparent collapse after raising hopes yesterday," the former junior foreign minister wrote.
However, the BCCI did not specify whether Kochi has pulled out. BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla said the Board has received "certain letters" from the consortium's stakeholders and a final decision on the troubled team would be taken on November 28.
"I can only say that BCCI president (Shashank Manohar) has received certain letters from the Kochi stakeholders. Keeping that in mind a meeting of the IPL Governing Council has been convened on November 28 in Nagpur where a final decision will be taken on Kochi," Shukla told reporters in New Delhi.
"Subsequently whatever steps are to be taken will be taken," he added.
Asked whether the BCCI has made up its mind to expel the team from the IPL, Shukla said, "that right to decide lies with the Governing Council. I can't say on that."
The BCCI had given Kochi a month to sort out the internal squabbling and that deadline expires on Saturday.
The BCCI had earlier terminated the contract of Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab for allegedly violating contractual agreement last month. Both the franchises are now engaged in a court battle with the BCCI.