If Lalit Modi is ousted from the running of the IPL, one of the first deals that could be scrapped is the one with the International Management Group (IMG), a BCCI source revealed. IMG, who were a key player in conceptualising the league and getting it off the ground, have outlasted their utility and are paid disproportionately to the service they provide, feel several members of the BCCI top brass.
IMG, and especially Andrew Wildblood, a Vice President of the company, are thought to have very close ties with Modi. An attempt to terminate their services was thwarted in August last year, when the company re-negotiated the fee they received from the BCCI.
As per the original contract, IMG was to work on a commission, receiving 10 per cent of what the Board made. The IPL’s inaugural season brought in Rs. 662 crore, leaving the BCCI (post various pay-outs) a net profit of 15 crore.
Sources say the Board felt Rs. 66 crore was too high and renegotiated to Rs. 33 crore, or 5 per cent of what the IPL made. In all, including expenses, IMG received Rs. 42.92 crore for Season 1.
The Board then suggested that the payment be fixed for the remaining nine seasons, rather than on a commission basis. Although IMG agreed to this and a fee in the Rs. 33 crore range, the Board then wanted further negotiations as some BCCI members felt that 33 crore for organising 49 games was too high.
After the 2009 IPL in South Africa, BCCI president Shashank Manohar and secretary N Srinivasan met Wildblood in England in June and asked IMG to submit a fresh proposal. When IMG refused, the Board unilaterally snapped ties.
Srinivasan shot off a letter to IMG terminating the contract, but this was immediately contested by Wildblood, whose response said, “You have not provided any grounds for such termination and the fact is there are no such grounds.”
This was followed by several IPL teams, including the Mukesh Ambani-owned Mumbai Indians, writing letters to the IPL Governing Council praising IMG’s work. Sharad Pawar, then part of the GC, pleaded IMG’s case, reportedly on Modi’s behalf, and the company was re-instated.
However, if Modi goes, IMG's ouster may not be far away. “Their role is very limited in the running of the tournament. This year they hardly had a part to play,” said a DDCA official.
A BCCI official concurred. “We have conducted World Cups, Champions Trophies and so many other high-profile events. I am sure we can manage to host these T20 matches.”