In a surprise development, the Indian cricket team's longtime sponsor Sahara India today ended financial ties with the BCCI and also pulled out of the IPL by withdrawing from Pune Warriors' ownership just hours before the players' auction.
Sahara, which has been the team sponsor for 11 years, signed a renewed agreement with the BCCI on July 1, 2010 till December 31, 2013. Sahara was paying Rs 3.34 crore per Test match, one-day international and Twenty20 International under the new terms. " ...after an 11-year journey as sponsors, we can say with surety that cricket has become very rich. Many rich people are there to support cricket with a strong will to do so.
So, with absolute peace of mind we can exit from cricket under BCCI and are exiting with a heavy heart," Sahara India said in a statement.
"It was an emotional decision for us to start this sponsorship but our emotions were never appreciated and many genuine situations were not given due consideration at all," the statement read.
Sahara, which entered the cash-rich IPL bandwagon last year along with the now-disbanded Kochi Tuskers Kerala, complained that several requests put forth by it with regards to players and the number of matches were not accepted by the BCCI.
"Our first entry into IPL was thwarted in 2008 when we were disqualified, owing to a small technicality on the whims and fancies of BCCI. Yet our Bid was not opened," the statement said. "Last year, Sahara entered the IPL on the basis of information in the media and everywhere else that 94 matches will be played among 10 teams.
The bid price was accordingly calculated, but only 74 matches were played. We are still pursuing continuously with the BCCI to refund the extra bid money proportionately. It has been denied on the basis of strict rules.