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ICL casts its net wide, causes concern

Top cricket officials in Delhi express fears over a potential takeover offer to some clubs by ICL, reports C Shekhar Luthra.

cricket Updated: Jul 30, 2007 10:30 IST
C Shekhar Luthra

Just ahead of when the 112 clubs that make up the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) go to vote in the elections for the all-powerful Sports Committee, slated for this Tuesday, the Ferozeshah Kotla is abuzz with the news of four to five clubs getting takeover offers from the Indian Cricket League (ICL).

It's a peculiar state of affairs. Though ICL business head Himanshu Mody told HT on Sunday that the "ICL has no such plans at the moment", at least four club secretaries confirmed that they had received offers in the range of 20-25 lakh, while top DDCA officials expressed fears over a potential "invasion".

"We are aware of such reports but I must make it clear that we're not in a position to take any action against such clubs because there are clear-cut guidelines from the BCCI," DDCA general secretary Sneh Bansal said on Sunday.

"If the buyouts happen, then we will refer the case to the BCCI and ask them to advise us," he added.

Bansal also said that the DDCA was going to ask Mohan Meakins to remove former India allrounder Madan Lal as the club secretary. Madan has joined ICL as one of its six team coaches.

"We've decided to request (DDCA do not have the authority to do anything else right now) Mohan Meakins to replace Madan with someone else and we're hopeful of their support on this issue," said Bansal.

Madan, however, has challenged the move. "I'm a professional and I have every right to earn my livelihood. I played my cricket at a time when there was no big money involved. If DDCA doesn't want me to work for any other company then it should try and match that offer," he said.

Meanwhile, unperturbed by any planned DDCA action, many club secretaries, who were finding it difficult to finance their clubs over the past few years and had leased them to external cricket academies for nothing much (as little as Rs 50,000 per year), said they would welcome any takeover offers.

As things stand, the DDCA has no plan in mind to counter this new threat from the ICL. From the ICL's standpoint, whatever Mody might say officially at this point, it makes perfect sense to make inroads into a state association via its clubs. Directly, or through a third party.