Clause 11.3 (c) of the BCCI-IPL franchise agreement says teams can be terminated if "the Franchise, any Franchise Group Company and/or any owner acts in any way which has a material adverse effect upon the reputation or standing of the League, BCCI-IPL, BCCI, the Franchise, the team (or any other team in the League) and/or the game of cricket."
IPL Governing Council member Sourav Ganguly listens to IPL CEO Sundar Raman (right) before the meeting yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
However, the termination of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals which the Justice Lodha Committee had stated that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) could be slapped, found nearly no support at yesterday's Indian Premier League Governing Council meeting at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai yesterday.
Terminate CSK, RR: Shirke
Only one member — Ajay Shirke — felt that the allegedly offending teams (CSK official Gurunath Meiyappan and RR co-owner Raj Kundra were banned for life by the Lodha Committee for indulging in betting) should be terminated. Simply put, the BCCI held back the axe for the moment when their very own regulations allowed them to wield it.
After much deliberation, it was decided to form a 'working group' that will look into the two-year suspension order against CSK and RR. IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla has been entrusted to form the five-member committee which is likely to have members from the Governing Council and BCCI's legal counsel Usha Nath Banerjee.
The 'working group' has to finalise their recommendations in six weeks. They will again be deliberated by the IPL GC before being passed on to the Working Committee for a final decision.
It is learnt that former BCCI treasurer Shirke, who joined the meeting via video conference, was the only member who called for the termination of CSK and RR. However, the others didn't feel termination was the way to go. Some felt that two new teams should be floated after carefully understanding the legal ramifications. BCCI's legal counsel shot down the suggestion of BCCI adopting the functioning of the two teams as it paves the way for a conflict of interest issue.
'Play under new names'
It is learnt a former India skipper on the IPL GC suggested that CSK and RR should play under new names and an outside agency be hired to govern the two franchises. But several members felt that not many corporates would like to fill in for only two years.
The former India cricketer said legends like Rahul Dravid (RR mentor) and MS Dhoni (CSK skipper) should be treated well when the talk of all players from the CSK and RR going into the auction pool was raised. A former office-bearer was quick to point out Dhoni's comments about Meiyappan to the Mudgal Committee probe panel which came under scrutiny. To which the former India player said that "it was only reported in the media and there has been no official statement from Dhoni on it."
Dhoni committed to CSK?
He also hinted that Dhoni might not be interested in playing for another franchisee and would well take a two-year break from the IPL till CSK returns to the fold. The decision to constitute a 'working group' was taken after some members felt that there was no need to take any decision in haste and they "are just shooting in the dark" at the moment.
Meanwhile, Shukla assured that IPL-9 would be bigger and better as compared to all other previous editions of the cash-rich Twenty20 league.