More to BCCI vs Sahara battle after truce?

Feb 17, 2012, 06:38 IST | Sanjib Guha

Sahara's request of five foreigners in an IPL XI must be cleared by all teams and at a BCCI special general meeting

Sahara's request of five foreigners in an IPL XI must be cleared by all teams and at a BCCI special general meeting

Hectic parleys and backdoor negotiations resulted in a compromise formula being worked out between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Sahara India Parivar yesterday. But it seems the stand-off is not yet over.

Yuvraj Singh,Sourav Ganguly,BCCI,Sahara
Yuvraj Singh and Sourav Ganguly before a Pune Warriors game in the
2011 edition of the Indian Premier League

According to the compromise formula, the N Srinivasan-led BCCI has shifted the onus on Sahara to sort it out with the other eight franchises. And even if the franchises agree, fielding five foreigners in the Indian Premier League playing XI may face another hurdle -- ratification in the general body meeting.

"They (Sahara) have taken the responsibility of convincing other franchises. And if they do so, we don't have a problem. But the point is, fielding four foreigners was decided at our general body meeting. And even if the franchises agree to Pune Warriors' request, it has to be ratified at a Special General Meeting," a top BCCI official told MiD DAY yesterday even as news reports said the BCCI vs Sahara war is over. Following the working committee's refusal to accept the demands of Sahara, both parties went for several rounds of talks.

Former BCCI president and legal eagle Shashank Manohar was roped in to resolve the matter. "We couldn't have taken a decision on our own to allow them five foreign players in the XI as it would have been unfair to other franchises.

"Now, after Sahara has taken the responsibility of convincing the other franchises, we will wait for  NOCs from all the teams before placing it at the SGM," the official added. Both parties came out with joint statements which provided indications of a truce. "If you look at the big picture, we haven't bent much; just stayed within the rules of the game. Even in the working committee meeting, all of us were in favour of going for an arbitrator to decide on the refund of 27 per cent of the money for a truncated 74-match IPL IV.

"BCCI president used his discretion to the maximum to fulfill their demands. Now at least we won't be blamed if they don't get the go-ahead from other teams. But we sympathise with Pune Warriors for missing a top-class cricketer like Yuvraj Singh," he said.

Keen on a solution
The official, however, admitted that both BCCI and Sahara were keen on a solution from the very beginning, but the Board didn't have much scope to bend further. "We didn't want to antagonise anybody. We didn't want to sever ties with them so we had to find a way out," the official added.

However, it is learnt that  Bollywood superstar and Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan went out of his way to help break the deadlock. "He is the one, who initiated talks of giving Pune Warriors an allowance of fielding five foreign recruits, instead of the permitted four," a source said. 

Smoother times for team sponsorship deal
As far as Team India sponsorship is concerned, Sahara Indian Parivar is set to continue its association. BCCI, on their part, allowed Sahara to exercise their right to assign the sponsorship as per the agreement. "We have been associated with them for more than 11 years and so we cannot sever ties at one go. We gave a patient hearing to them and decided on the future course of action," a Board official said. The official also said that it wasn't an easy task to walk out for Sahara too. "Team India is huge brand and anyone would like it to continue though few parties are always ready for sponsorship," he added.

Excerpts from Subrata Roy's statement...
I genuinely appreciate all concerned senior officials of BCCI for all their initiative in resolving the issue. I shall fail in my duties if I don't put on record the overwhelming support of media in the whole matter which truly helped to take it to the rightful resolution. We have strongly requested to go for an open auction without any kind of retention. Due to the policy of retention, a disparity in the player ability and corresponding payment structure is created. I genuinely appreciate BCCI, seeing their positive response and attitude, they have said that they would take up the issue

Yesterday's important decisions...
Trading window deadline extended from February 17 to February 29.
2. Re-activation of the Auction Purse for Pune Warriors India.
3. Appointment of an arbitrator to address Sahara's claim for a reduction in franchise fee for 74 matches.
4. BCCI does not have any issues with Sahara seeking a strategic partner in Pune Warriors.
5. BCCI agrees to the request of playing five foreigners subject to the views of all other franchises.
6. Sahara has requested for one of the play-off matches (scheduled in Bangalore) to be played in Pune.
7. BCCI to consider Sahara's request of furnishing bank guarantee against the franchisee fee in two installments.
8. Working committee's decision of rejecting Sahara's request of five foreign players in the playing XI due to the non-availability of Yuvraj Singh notwithstanding, Sahara has offered to obtain the consent of all franchises.

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