The end of the consortium seeking to manage the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Kochi franchise was prolonged by two days on Wednesday. That's the time Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) president Shashank Manohar has indicated he would need to make this official.
But even if the Kochi consortium goes the way of Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, the possibility of IPL IV having just seven teams is zero, said a BCCI official who refused to be named. “The governing council will have to be convened in that case and fresh tenders will have to invited for replacing Kochi with a new team,” the official said.
It would be interesting to see then whether the BCCI allows any of the existing Kochi investors to bid for a new team either on their own or as part of a consortium. But for that to happen, Manohar will first have to cancel this franchise.
The fact that the two bickering factions submitted separate replies to the BCCI showcause notice shows that all is anything but well with the owners who cobbled together $333 million (R 1500 crore approx) to earn the right to form a team last March. While both factions differed on the shareholding pattern among the six major investors in their replies both groups have sought for "10 more days”.
“Nobody wants to let the big pie go," an investor with the Kochi franchise told HT after a series of meetings since early morning failed to break the deadlock over the shareholding pattern.
Preferring anonymity, the investor remained optimistic about the BCCI's reaction. “Despite two separate replies, negotiations are at an advanced stage. The solicitors of both the groups need some more time to tie up the formalities,” the investor said.
The BCCI though maintained they have received one reply. “The president has received the reply within the stipulated time. He has referred it to the legal team,” said Ratnakar Shetty, BCCI's chief administrative officer. Another board official though said “two replies have done no good for the consortium's hopes” adding that Manohar is unlikely to offer Kochi more time.