Just days after the Board of Control for Cricket in India terminated a contract they held with the World Sports Group (WSG) for media rights to the IPL, the international firm has hit back with a strongly-worded letter to Board secretary, N Srinivasan, a copy of which is with the Hindustan Times.
In its missive, WSG not only stoutly defends the reason why a contentious facilitation fee was paid, but also suggests that if any fraud was committed, this was on the part of the BCCI, and not its commercial partners, as alleged.
Seamus O’Brian, CEO of WSG, argued, “The BCCI has led everyone to believe since the inception of the IPL, that the chairman and commissioner’s signature is singularly required, authorized and binding on all matters.”
If the BCCI now says that this was not the case, then “we (World Sports Group), together with many others, would have every right to assume that the BCCI have indeed perpetrated a ‘fraud’, by telling the world that one of its officers had powers that he did not”, argues O’Brien.
WSG also insists that there is no basis for the termination of their contract with the Board, and that the company would take “whatever steps are necessary in whatever part of the world to ensure that agreements with our business are honoured.”
In his letter O’Brien explains why the BCCI have no claim whatsoever on the US$80 million (Rs 425 crore) facilitation fee that was paid out.
O’Brien also states that all deals and contracts were ratified by the governing council and that the BCCI “need to take responsibility for reading their contracts before and after they are signed, and not to feign knowledge when it best suits them”.
Earlier in the week, Multi Screen Media (who entered into an agreement to pay WSG Mauritius the facilitation fee) agreed to pay the BCCI Rs 300 crore of the facilitation fee in installments, and also seek to recover the remaining Rs 125 crore from WSG, which would be paid to the BCCI when that happened.
The latest response from WSG suggests that the matter is far from closed, and could play out in the courts rather than the boardrooms of the BCCI.