'I don't want that BCCI and our team should be in problem'
Sahara India chief Subrata Roy told CNN-IBN in an exclusive interview that there is no question of sponsoring the Indian cricket team. However, the group will continue to support the Pune Indian Premier League team.
The Sahara chief also added that his IPL franchise Pune Warriors has been treated unfairly by the BCCI, forcing him to snap all ties with Indian cricket.
In a surprise development, the Indian cricket team's longtime sponsor Sahara India on Saturday ended financial ties with the BCCI and also pulled out of the IPL by withdrawing from Pune Warriors' ownership just hours before the players' auction.
Sahara, which has been the team sponsor for 11 years, signed a renewed agreement with the BCCI on July 1, 2010 till December 31, 2013. Sahara was paying Rs 3.34 crore per Test match, one-day international and Twenty20 International under the new terms.
Considering the amount of money it was about to lose, it was no surprise that the BCCI took a more re-conciliatory stand towards the aggrieved corporate giant, saying it is ready to sit across the table and sort out all the matters.
Excerpts from the Interview:
On reconciliation with the BCCI:
"I can't say at this stage. We have to appreciate one thing; we have already announced a huge plan for social work including development of sports which will involve thousand crores of rupees. I have nothing against anybody. I also have an open mind and have several concerns...First concern is that our players this year should not be deprived of playing IPL. This is really bad for them. It is important that they should play. I have already requested BCCI to get them in any organisation fast so that they can play in this IPL also. So we'll sit and discuss all this. I don't want that BCCI and our team should be in problem in any manner. I am sure when we will sit we will come out with good solutions."
Image: Sahara India chief Subrata Roy
'I am not going to walk out till they get the right sponsors'
"Even the sponsorship, if you talk about 10 years back it was a bit difficult but now cricket is very rich and there are many people who are interested to be as a sponsor...so I don't think there is any problem. But I have promised them I am not going to walk out till they get the right sponsors."
On Sahara to continue with Pune IPL this year 2012:
"If really needed I will not give a second thought. That's the highest priority in my mind. I don't what will happen in future years also...it can happen anything. But this is certain that players should play, secondly Pune people are so excited for the first tournament there...it should have been there...it will happen.
We have to come out with some way or the other...we are very flexible about it and I am sure that when we will sit we will amicably come out with very good solutions that these things should not happen. Right from the beginning I have said my first concern is my team and they have to play this tournament.
Image: The Team India jerseys on display
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com
'Our team wanted Jadeja but nobody was listening'
On other teams getting benefits that IPL Pune did not get:
My complaint is 100% there, last year only I had said you should open the auctions because there are two new teams and there should be a level playing field. In the interest of the tournament I had told them that if all the teams are properly balanced we will enjoy each and every match. It is good for the tournament. I don't know people are taking it as a war.
On older teams having benefits:
Today minus Yuvraj Singh we don't have one Indian player of the top 12 or 15 and we have to field seven of them. Some teams have 4-5 players. We were deprived of the older teams...last time it was 8 x 2, 16 best players were retained we had nobody somehow Yuvraj was with us. Our team wanted Jadeja but nobody was listening.
Image: The Indian Premier League trophy
Photographs: Getty Images
'Pulling out of IPL was not an overnight decision'
On the proposal of the IPL auction being held again:
I would have accepted any such negotiation but i have to think twice...I wont be able to do it probably because I have already announced huge social work with this money and I cannot come back from my commitment.
On being hurt by the BCCI:
Not in one issue but no of issues they have not given us minimum respect that we deserve.
On glamour of the IPL having limited value than social work:
Cricket sponsorship and the IPL is much more glamorous from the brand image point of view. No comparison. IPL is a very good investment.
On why he suddenly pulled out of the IPL just before the auction:
The decision of pulling out of IPL was not an overnight decision. I had informed the decision of withdrawing almost a month in advance.
Image: Subrato Roy with Sachin Tendulkar
'Srinivasan is having a team he should not involve in these things'
On conflict of Interest with BCCI head N Srinivasan:
I should not comment on this. But Mr. Srinivasan said that I am very sorry to hear that I want to withdraw. Since he has a team so he said I am away from these decisions or discussions. What I don't understand that he says that he is having a team he should not involve in these things but he is the BCCI president also, he has to involve himself.
Image: Subrato Roy