It's state vs MCA over Wankhede stadium

May 08, 2013, 06:54 IST | Ravikiran Deshmukh

Mumbai Cricket Association has irked state sports department over a slew of issues, including breach of lease agreement; cricketing body has also failed to respond to 17 letters from the government for an agreement on renovation

Going by documents received by MiD DAY, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has stepped on the state government’s toes one time too many. It appears that the cricketing body has ignored as many as 17 letters written to it by the state government over the last two years, asking it to fulfil certain terms and conditions agreed upon between the two parties.

Wankhede Stadium, which sprawls across 43,977.93 sq metres (52,597 yards), was leased out to MCA by state for a period of 50 years

Wankhede Stadium, which sprawls across an area of 43,977.93 sq metres (52,597 yards), was leased out to MCA by the state government for a period of 50 years. The lease is set to expire on February 5, 2018. According to the documents, the conditions of the lease agreement have been breached on several counts.

Rent and revenue
As per the agreement, the rent payable by MCA is Rs 1 per square yard for built-up area and 10 paise per square yard for the rest. The rent amounts to Rs 15,650 every year. The allegation is that MCA has not been following the agreement, as the amount has changed ever since the construction of a new building the Cricket Centre changed the built-up area of the premises, say officials.

According to a clause in the agreement, MCA can rent out the premises to other sports clubs to hold tournaments, subject to the condition that 10 per cent of the rent so recovered should be paid to the lessor the government, that is. But, the state sports and youth affairs departments have alleged that MCA has not paid the percentage from the rent they earned from Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.

Another clause states that the MCA cannot assign, underlet, transfer or part with the premises. This condition too has been breached, when the newly constructed cricket centre was given to the BCCI.

The MCA approached the state government for renovation of north and south stands in 2008. While granting permission, the state sports department put certain conditions in place in exchange for an NOC: one per cent of the total income generated from ticket sales and advertisements were to be paid to the sports directorate for development of sports facilities in Mumbai. Moreover, for every cricket event held from the World Cup 2011, MCA would make 400 passes available to the state government.

The directorate of sports has since been sending reminders to the MCA for an agreement confirming the same on stamp paper. Even though the renovation has been completed and cricketing activities are on in full swing, the MCA has not bothered to send the document.

Not responding
From May 2011, the sports department has written as many as 17 letters, reminding the MCA about the pending agreement. No concrete results have resulted from their efforts, barring two letters from the MCA. In its response on January 13 last year, MCA told the sports department that the conditions were being fulfilled.

In another letter written on February 2 last year, the MCA reiterated its stand on fulfilling the conditions. But the state reminded the cricketing body that the NOC had been issued for not just the World Cup but all the matches, and the agreement needed to be honoured accordingly.

The department wrote to MCA on October 31 last year, saying that there was a breach of lease agreement on three conditions the lease rent should be paid thrice during a year but it was paid at one go. Moreover, new structures have been erected alongside the stadium, whereas no construction was permissible except semi-permanent structures for the clubhouse.

In October last year, state gave MCA a month for an agreement, and asked the MCA to inform them if they were not interested in signing the same. Despite that, no response came. When contacted, state sports minister Padmakar Walvi was unwilling to elaborate on his department’s stand and said that the lease is yet to expire.  

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