The alleged black money and secret deals, as revealed by a recent TV sting operation, prevailing in the Indian Premier League shouldn’t come as a surprise because officially there is no transparency in the sports property that is valued at over USD three billion. IPL is easily the most successful tournament in the South Asian region. It warrants a lot of positives. It generates close to 60 per cent of the Indian cricket Board’s revenue. But after four years of chugging along on a generous dose of hype, and of course, moolah, it is difficult to ignore the infinite episodes when its credibility have taken a severe hit.
In the very first season, a former chief of the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption Unit, Paul Condon had said: “The IPL brings with it the biggest threat in terms of corruption in the game since the days of cricket in Sharjah.” By the end of Season Two, then Cricket South Africa (CSA) President, Gerald Majola was accused of embezzling funds spawned by IPL-II’s success in South Africa.
By the end of the third season, the tournament’s initiator, Lalit Modi was sacked, and subsequently had several FIR’s filed against. Soon after that, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab wereabruptly terminated for changing their ownership structures without proper sanctions from the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Thereafter, in September 2011, Kochi Tuskers Kerala were finally terminated. Earlier this year, Sahara India withdrew its franchise, Pune Warriors India, from the league. And a couple of days later, ex-IPL chief Modi claimed that the 2009 IPL auctions were rigged to enable Chennai Super Kings purchase England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff. In between all this, Ravindra Jadeja was banned from IPL-III for trying to negotiate terms with another franchise. In a similar scenario, Manish Pandey was also banned for four games.
Jadeja & Pollard
The public did not get to know how much Mumbai Indians paid for Kieron Pollard in 2010 and how much Chennai paid for Jadeja earlier this year. Jadeja, whose base price was USD 100,000, went to Chennai after the tie-breaker clause was invoked when two teams — Chennai and Deccan — bid the maximum (USD two million) for the Saurashtra lad. But Jadeja is being paid $950,000 as per the contract he had signed with the now-disbanded Kochi last year and even the secret amount that was bid on him by Chennai went into the BCCI coffers. Ditto with Pollard, who was bagged by Mumbai Indians for $750,000 followed by an undisclosed tie-breaker amount. Talk about lack of transparency. However, with every passing season, IPL has managed to cast a spell on millions of viewers —giving them the 8pm fix that they so desire after a hard day’s work. Don’t be surprised if the BCCI manage to bury their latest trial too and retain their viewers next year.