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BCCI-Sahara row continue

Sources say Sahara firm on not continuing with team sponsorship, but want to be associated with cash-rich league on their terms

IT SEEMS the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is desperate to retain Sahara India Parivar as sponsor of the Indian team as well as their franchise Pune Warriors in the Indian Premier League (IPL) fold.


IPL chief Rajeev Shukla

On a hectic day with a series of meetings scheduled, both sides yesterday wanted to salvage as much as they could with BCCI having little bargaining power going into the meeting. Though they had done their homework quite early in the day, it looked as if it wasn't enough to win over Sahara chief Subroto Roy.

The BCCI contingent comprising president N Srinivasan, secretary Sanjay Jagdale, treasurer Ajay Shirke and IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla got together at a city hotel yesterday for a meeting that lasted around two hours. It is learnt the meeting was a cordial one with Roy dictating terms in his polite, charismatic manner.

According to insiders, Sahara India have put across their demands in order to continue with their franchise Pune Warriors in the IPL V, but there was no assurance as far as sponsorship was concerned.

Sahara's demands ranged from discount in franchise fees (for shrinking the IPL to a 74-match affair instead of promised 94 at the start of IPL IV) to allowing fifth foreigner in their team.

"Since few of the demands couldn't be fulfilled as some decisions need to be ratified by the working committee (today in Chennai), the declarations would come tomorrow only," a board official told MiD DAY yesterday. After the meeting, though both BCCI and Sahara India have come out with a joint statement.

"Sahara and BCCI met today and discussed all the outstanding issues, and it was agreed that the subject will be further discussed in the BCCI Working Committee meeting tomorrow," the statement said.

Team meetings
The much-awaited meeting was preceded by several strategic discussions in both camps. Roy was busy updating himself with details from his Pune Warriors officials, the Board had internal discussions.

Pune-based Shirke is believed to be playing a leading role in the negotiations. The day started quite early for the BCCI as they gathered in a five-star hotel in Kalina to formulate the moves ahead of the crucial meeting.

"Board officials assessed what could be done to make Sahara happy at this juncture. The Board cannot afford to lose Sahara both as sponsor and IPL franchise," the source pointed out.

Since the main bargaining was expected with regards to the IPL, Shukla and another IPL official had a separate chat just before presenting their case to Roy. But even that proved futile as Sahara, it is learnt, stuck to their guns.

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