After its troubled birth two years ago, the Kochi Tuskers Kerala (KTK) managed to play for just one season before hitting a dead end.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the parent body of Indian Premier League (IPL), has terminated the Kochi franchise for non-payment of the Rs 156 crore annual fee. The franchise owners are getting ready for a legal battle.
The BCCI decision has reduced the field to nine teams.
"The BCCI has decided to encash the bank guarantee in their possession and terminate the franchise," said N Srinivasan, who took over as the BCCI president on Monday.
The franchise had been dogged by controversies since its inception in 2010.
Owing to internal disputes, the Tuskers had been in danger of being ousted from IPL even before taking the field in the last year's Twenty20 extravaganza.
The new battle could be a repeat of the legal wrangle between the BCCI and Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab.
Each of the 10 franchises has to pay IPL 10% of its bid amount a year in advance. Since KTK's bid amount was Rs 1,500 crore for 10 years, they had to pay Rs 150 crore by every March 26.
Besides, the franchisee also has to deposit an additional bank guarantee, which in case of Kochi, was settled at Rs 157 crore.
"They have been given enough time," said a BCCI member who attended the annual general meeting on Monday.
"Since the bank guarantee was going to expire on September 26, the decision could not be delayed."
"We will take legal action against the BCCI," said KTK chairman Mukesh Patel.
"Our legal team will take another couple of days to review the case."