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No IPL media rights deal till BCCI accepts reforms, says Lodha panel

Last updated on: October 24, 2016 22:01 IST

IMAGE: Sunrisers Hyderabad celebrate after winning IPL 9. Photograph: BCCI

The awarding of the Indian Premier League media rights from 2018 onwards is set to be deferred after the Supreme Court-appointed Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha panel on Monday asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India to accept its reforms before proceeding ahead with the process of opening the tenders which was scheduled to take place in Mumbai on Tuesday.

In a late development, BCCI president Anurag Thakur replied to the panel's query, informing that the compliance report by him and secretary Ajay Shirke will be filed by November 5 and it's their "consistent endeavour of the BCCI office-bearers to ensure implementations of the recommendations by the committee".

Last week, the Supreme Court asked the Lodha panel to appoint an independent auditor to scrutinize BCCI’s accounts and also to fix a limit on the financial transactions of the cricket board. The Lodha panel would fix a limit on the monetary value of contracts, which the BCCI can enter into, with a condition that all contracts above this limit would be approved by the panel.

Following the Supreme Court's directive, BCCI Ajay Shirke had written a letter to the Lodha Panel asking for clarification in the issues related to IPL broadcast rights, which are currently with Sony Pictures Network and will expire after the tenth season of IPL in 2017.

Gopal Sankaranarayanan, secretary of the Lodha Committee, replied to the email which was addressed to BCCI president Anurag Thakur, secretary Ajay Shirke and CEO Rahul Johri in which he stated: "Before the Committee proceeds to issue any directions, it would need to satisfy itself that the BCCI administration is willing to comply with the Order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 21.10.2016. As you can understand, this would be necessary in view of the BCCI’s stand concerning the earlier order of 18.7.2016. In this regard, the Committee requires a letter of compliance from the President BCCI duly undertaking on behalf of the BCCI to unreservedly comply with the Order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 21.10.2016."

Shankarnarayan also asked for a few clarifications based on Shirke's letter.

"In your letter dated 21.10.2016, the first paragraph reads as follows: 1) The BCCI has already declared the process of a global tender for the IPL rights, where the previous Ten-year rights contract ended with the end of IPL season May  2016, as it was mandated to do so by the expiring contract."

The panel secretary then concluded by asking two specific questions.

"a. When did the previous Ten-year rights period come to an end? b. When does the next Ten-year rights period commence?"

Regarding implementation of the reforms, Thakur stated in his letter, "However for the benefit of the Committee it may be noted that President and Secretary of BCCI had called a Special General Body Meeting of the BCCI on 30.09.2016 and 1.10.2016 for adoption of recommendation by the committee and adoption of Memorandum and Articles as proposed by the Committee.

"However the requisite % majority mandated under the Tamil Nadu Societies Act, 1975 of members present and voting could not be achieved for adoption of Memorandum and Articles as proposed by the Committee despite the secretary of the BCCI proposing the motion and president of BCCI seconding the motion. It may be noted that the BCCI President and Secretary do not have vote or decision making power in such meetings."

"The BCCI office bearers have also assured the Hon'ble Supreme Court that they would take necessary steps in the meanwhile in order to establish their bona fides," Thakur further stated.

The rights on offer are Indian Sub-continent Television Rights from 2018 to 2027 (10 IPL seasons), Indian sub-continent Digital Rights from 2018 to 2022 (5 IPL seasons) and Rest of the World Media Rights from 2018 to 2022 (5 IPL seasons).

Social networking giants Twitter and Facebook along with Star India Private Limited, Sony Pictures Networks Private Limited and Reliance Jio Digital Services Private Limited are among the 18 entities that have purchased the Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the IPL rights.

According to sources, BCCI is expecting close to US$ 4.5 billion from sale of these three rights -- TV, internet and mobile.

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