'We have to pay Kochi compensation. All legal options have been exhausted.'
The Board of Control for Cricket in India is set to pay compensation of more than Rs 800 crore to disbanded Indian Premier League franchise Kochi Tuskers Kerala for terminating their contract in 2011.
"Kochi Tuskers has demanded Rs 850 crore as compensation. Today we discussed the matter at IPL GC (General Council) meeting and we will now place the matter before the general body. Let them take a call but, obviously, some negotiations are needed," IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla said after the meeting.
The owners of Kochi Tuskers had in 2015 won an arbitration challenging the BCCI’s decision to encash bank guarantee citing breach of contractual agreement.
The R C Lahoti-headed panel had directed the BCCI to pay Rs 550 crore as compensation, with 18 percent annual penalty for failing to do so.
For the past two years, the BCCI was adamant in neither paying compensation nor taking back the franchise in the IPL.
"We have to pay Kochi compensation. All legal options have been exhausted. Normally when arbitration decision goes against you, it will be stupid to move Supreme Court appealing against it. We have no option, but the question is how much," an influential IPL GC member said after coming out of the meeting.
The decision to terminate Kochi’s contract was taken by Shashank Manohar, the then BCCI President, citing breach of franchise agreement, something the majority of BCCI officials were against.
"It was one man's obstinacy that is now costing us a bomb. Had Shashank not taken that decision, we could have worked our way out.
"In fact, before Kochi went to arbitration they had asked for a compensation of Rs 300 crore. Even then our officials showed arrogance and now we will be forced to shell out more than double," the angry official added.
The BCCI will be trying to negotiate and bring down the compensation to an optimum level.
"Even then we will not be able to bring down to less than Rs 600 crore, I feel," said the official, who had been associated with the case.
Meanwhile, in another development, the BCCI will be earning a token amount of Rs 5 lakh from Chennai Super Kings (CSK) as a part of 5 percent earnings from total valuation of a franchise that transfers its ownership.
Chennai Super Kings is now under the wings of Chennai Super Kings Company Limited (CSKCL) with India Cements transferring its shares to the newly-formed limited company.
As per IPL rules, any transfer of ownership will mean that BCCI will get 5 percent of the total valuation.
Accordingly, BCCI is expected to get Rs 5 lakh and senior officials are not amused.
"This is bizarre but true. We will get Rs 5 lakh, but we are trying to take legal opinion," the official said.
Image: The Kochi Tuskers players during the fourth edition of the IPL in 2011.