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IPL woes mount as franchisees have little say

Last updated on: February 15, 2012 11:36 IST

IPL woes mount as franchisees have little say

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Bikash Mohapatra

The Indian Premier League has been beset with problems ever since its inception in 2008.

In fact, controversy has become synonymous with the lucrative T20 tournament. No points for guessing that most of it is inadvertently linked to the franchises. Be it the salary cap, the number of foreign players, the scheduling issues or accountability per se, there seems to be no end to the tournament's mounting problems.

Added to that, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has a tendency to aggravate the problems, thereby leaving the franchises in a lurch.

Having been forced to bear the burnt time and again, despite having shelled out millions, many of the franchises have resorted to legal recourse. Both Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab went to court challenging the IPL governing council's decision to bar them on charges of transgressions in shareholding and ownership norms.

With the court ruling in their favour, the BCCI was left with no alternative but to reinstate them.



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Demands for participation of franchise in Governing Council

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Last September, the BCCI terminated the contract of IPL franchise Kochi Tuskers Kerala for non-payment of bank guarantee, leaving the franchise with no other alterative but seek legal recourse.

Finally, the problem Sahara had with the BCCI is well documented in recent times. The company ended an 11-year-old relationship with Indian cricket by withdrawing its sponsorship of the national team and ownership of the Pune Warriors IPL franchise owing to several issues.

With many decisions of the IPL Governing Council (GC) not being franchise-friendly, there are demands in some quarters for participation of the franchises in the GC with the aim of presenting a stakeholders' point of view in more direct manner.



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'Being on the Governing Council is a big decision'

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Many believe there's no transparency in the manner in which various issues are dealt with, while others are not certain if the best interests of a franchise are taken into consideration in decision-making. There's still some time though before a direct demand is made.

Asked the question, Shah Rukh Khan, co-owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders, preferred to remain tight-lipped on the issue.

"It is a huge decision," he said, before proceeding to do a cover-up exercise.

"All the franchises have had a more active participation in the last few years," he continued, adding, "However, being on the Governing Council is a big decision and I am in no position to comment on the issue."



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'There are problems, many of them unforeseen'

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The Bollywood heartthrob, however, did admit there are problems, blaming them on the fact that the tournament is still in a fledgling state.

"There are problems, many of them unforeseen. But it is natural since it is a new organization," explained Shah Rukh, adding, "Even in the near future, IPL, or for that matter any other league in India, will be besotted with problems and plagued with various governance-related issues because such things are very new in this country.

"That makes it even more important for us to try and support it rather than attempting to put it down."

The Kolkata co-owner's response may have been diplomatic, but he must be aware that the problem is far bigger to have a diplomatic solution.



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