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Flintoff's auction in 2009 was rigged, says Modi

Last updated on: February 7, 2012 20:46 IST

'We have seen rules being changed to benefit one team or the other'

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Former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi has lashed out at the Board of Control for Cricket in India, claiming that the 2009 auction was rigged in favour of the Chennai Super Kings, whose owner is the current BCCI president N Srinivasan.

- Wish Yuvraj Singh a speedy recovery

Speaking to CNN-IBN, Modi alleged that when he was in charge of the IPL, the rules were tweaked to allow former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff to remain with Chennai.

Transcript of the Interview:

On allegations raised by Subroto Roy

"Subroto [Roy] is right when he says there is no level playing field. Over past few seasons we have seen rules being changed to benefit one team or the other. The IPL was built on the premises that there should be a level playing field. That's why we had auction, the capping -- the maximum money one can pay and there should be no side trading. But over the years the auction rules have changed and it's to the detriment of some teams."

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"That's not correct. In 2008 he himself had said that he was late in submitting bids. There were three teams late in submitting the bids and we could not allow anyone. There is a laid procedure. If you missed out on a deadline that was the case. It was fair and open to everybody at that time. Yes Sahara paid the highest bid amount but we never had a problem with the rule. There was no siding with one team or the other."


Image: Lalit Modi
Photographs: Getty Images

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'I would have not allowed the auction to take place'

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On changing rules of players' auction:

"I would have not allowed the auction to take place. I would have not allowed the rules to be changed at first place. There would have not been a problem with Mr Subrata Roy or anybody had the rules been consistent. Everybody would have known on what basis they were going to trade. All teams should have been taken into confidence before change of rules. You can't play IPL with few teams."

On the fallout of Sahara's pullout:

"Sahara has been a big supporter of cricket. For them to pull out is a big blow to the Indian cricket board. We cancelled the  contract with the Nimbus without encashing their bank guarantee. With Kochi, Sahara, Nimbus and Sony contracts going  down it's close to ten thousand crores loss to BCCI. If the number of matches reduced and with ratings falling no advertisers would turn up to pay a higher price. Let them prove me wrong. They have never done a deal after I left."


Image: Subrata Roy
Photographs: Reuters
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'I was arm-twisted to allow Flintoff to go to Chennai'

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On Andrew Flintoff's auction in 2009:

"Flintoff auction was rigged. I made it clear that time. That onus was on me and as chairman I should have not allowed that to happen then. I was arm-twisted to allow Andrew Flintoff to go to Chennai Super Kings. I am to blame for that. It is a fact. Similar problem happened with the Pakistani players. Arm-twisting happened by senior BCCI officials that nobody should pick them."


Image: Andrew Flintoff
Photographs: Getty Images
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'The accusations are justified'

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On conflict of interest with Chennai Super Kings:

"The accusations are justified. We changed the rules in Champions League where we allowed five players to play. You should make rules for all teams that everybody benefits out of it. You can't make rules for one team. We understand from time to time there would be issues with players. But you need to take everybody into account and share the advantage or disadvantage equally. What Subrataji is saying regarding Yuvraj Singh is not right. This problem should have been resolved prior to that."

On favours to Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings:

"Not only two teams but also few more teams wanted to keep their key players. A lot of teams wanted their players to go back but more powerful teams could get the clause retained."

"The 2008 rules clearly say that the players would have to go to the auction after three years. You allow the people to bid for the players. Initial years they would make mistake and then going forward they would learn from it and there would be a level playing field. That's how the model was made of. If you tweak the model without considering long term implications there would be problem."

On retention clause:

"The retention clause was only for first three years. All players were supposed to go back to auction after first three years. In fourth year that did not happen and they allowed the players to stay back. That became a problem. When the new teams come in that's a problem for them and I had pointed out it last year. If you pull out few things the entire model is going to fall apart."


Image: Chennai Super Kings
Photographs: Getty Images
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'It happened what I had predicted'

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On Kochi Tuskers Kerala franchise:

"I only said about the Kochi that the owners would not sustain in long run for the price at which they are buying the franchise. That's exactly what happened. When I laid down precautions on how to overcome that I was overruled. One year down the line it happened what I had predicted. I did not start during my time. It started post my time."



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' I will comeback if there is guarantee that there will be no witch hunt'

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On returning to India:

"The ED and other authorities are just throwing charges but in last two years they have not come up with any thing. I have been answering the questions but not a single allegation has turned into fact. I will be very happy to return to India but what about the witch hunt. All agencies would go after you without any proof. I will comeback if there is guarantee that there will be no witch hunt."


Image: Lalit Modi

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Why everybody is going away from the IPL today?

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On sustainability of IPL:

"If you change the rules the business model won't work. I have been saying from the beginning that the rules have to be equal. The players are the key. They should be available to all the teams. The teams should have the equal opportunity to buy the players. Fans would move away from a model if they find that it's not appealing. Competitiveness and unpredictability would keep the fans with the game. BCCI has done certain things which are going to hurt cricket in long run. They have to follow the model and it's a magic formula."

On present management of IPL:

"At the beginning in 2008 it was only a group of friends. But after the success of IPL many people wanted to be part of the success story. That's how the numbers have gone up. There were no buyers at that time and I had to persuade many. Some of them benefited due to the merits of the success of IPL. I might have left but the organisation must run. Why everybody is going away from the IPL today? There is lack of transparency now. Stick to the formula and we have a golden goose to cash on."


Image: Lalit Modi
Photographs: Getty Images
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