For the first time, an Indian Premier League team is on the verge of changing hands. JSW Steel chairman, Sajjan Jindal, confirmed on Wednesday that his group is acquiring an IPL side without naming it amid speculation that it could be Royal Challengers Bangalore, owned by liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
“Cricket is the number one sport in our country, so there is an idea to acquire a team... an IPL team. But I cannot comment which team it would be,” said Jindal.
“Moneywise I don’t think that is the issue (because) the idea is that we want to take some credible team so that we can promote sports,” he told reporters. Asked whether the steel giant will indeed buy RCB, Jindal just said: “That depends on them (RCB).”
Mallya made the second highest bid of $111.6 million to buy the Bangalore franchise in 2008. There have been reports that JSW wants to acquire the Virat Kohli-led team.
The group’s sports wing, JSW Sports, owns I-League club, Bengaluru FC, the Sunil Chhetri-led side which won the title in 2014.
Jindal said his group was building a village for sports in Karnataka and would also focus on other sports like kabaddi and hockey. “We are looking at kabaddi and hockey, we also want to go pan-India in various sports through JSW Sports.”
If the group buys RCB, it will be the first IPL team to be sold, although one or two other franchise owners are keen to sell.