A day after Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was denied entry to his team's dressing room, Indian Premier League authorities issued fresh guidelines, which cleared the deck for the presence of a franchise owner in the team dug-out during the Twenty20 tournament.
IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi announced that the organisers will issue an all-area accreditation badge to one member of each of the eight team franchisees, following the ejection of Shah Rukh from the dug-out by the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit officials of the International Cricket Council.
While defending the ACSU officials' decision to ask the film star to vacate the dug-out during the IPL match against Chennai Super Kings at the Eden Gardens on Sunday, Modi said suitable measures would be taken to avoid a repeat of the incident.
"There have been reports in the media about denial of a team owner access to the dug out and dressing room. The IPL is conducted as per the rules and regulations of the ICC, whose ACSU officials were just doing the job entrusted," Modi said.
"They go strictly by the colour code. A red badge issued by the ACSU, on approval of the team manager, will help the person holding it access to all areas," he said.
"This is what we intend to do by giving each of the team owners one such badge each. They do have the right to sit with the players in the dug outs and dressing rooms," Modi told a media conference in Mumbai on Monday evening.
Modi said since this is the first year of the IPL, they are still learning the ropes.
"If we make mistakes, we are willing to set them right. This is the first year of IPL.
"We had already provided such badges to Preity Zinta (owner of Punjab King's XI) and Vijay Mallya (owner of Bangalore's Royal Challengers) as we had received such a request from them in advance," Modi explained.
"The team owners have the right to be with the team at all times. They are very much part of the team's strategies," he added.
Modi also said that each team, in addition, would get four visitor's passes with the condition that the holder of that badge, one at a time, can sit with the team members during the match for a maximum of 15 minutes.
"After the usage (of the temporary badge) it must be returned to the manager who has issued it," he said.
The IPL chairman also said that in future children of team members, including support staff, would not be allowed to enter the teams' dug-outs or dressing rooms during a match.
Earlier, the ICC expressed surprise at Shah Rukh's statement that he had been ejected by ACSU personnel.
The ICC said the IPL is a domestic tournament and the game's governing body did not have any role in formulating the rules.
"The reported incident has nothing to do with the ICC as the IPL is a domestic tournament which is being held under the Rules and Regulations of the BCCI," an ICC spokesman said from Dubai.
"Furthermore, the ICC Board in its meeting held in Dubai on 17-18 March had decided that IPL will introduce a code of conduct, an anti-corruption code and an anti-doping code that complies with ICC regulations," he said.
Shah Rukh was visibly dejected after being denied an entry in the dressing room and the actor said, "I like to hang around with the boys. I am very energetic. I am very disappointed that the ICC has stopped me," he said.
"I don't know the ICC rules. I'll tell only one thing. Nobody dare stop me from coming to Kolkata. I'll be here whenever my team plays a match at the Eden," Khan said.
Knight Riders CEO Joy Bhattacharya said ICC rules are meant to stop bookies entering the dressing room but they do not apply in a domestic tournament like IPL.
"When these rules were framed, the concept of franchisee owners' domestic tournament didn't even come, the law was not framed to stop people like Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Mukesh Ambani or Vijay Mallya from walking into the dressing room," he said.
"According to even ICC regulations, there is a system of visitor's pass, the manager and team management sign it. The person can be allowed in the dressing room as long as it is signed by. So there is no way to stop Shah Rukh from entering the dressing room," Bhattacharya added.
BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah, meanwhile, asserted that Shah Rukh has to go by ICC rules, even though he felt nothing could really stop the actor from entering the dressing room.
"He should take permission from IPL's anti-corruption officer before entering into the dressing room," Shah said.