As it received an overwhelming response to the offer of franchise for owning cricket teams in the Indian Premier League, the Cricket Board on Tuesday made it clear that no current player can have a stake in a company owning any of the teams.
The BCCI stand came in the wake of media reports that star batsman Sachin Tendulkar was in talks for a joint bid with the Future Group, which has expressed interest in becoming a franchisee of the BCCI's Twenty20 venture. However, the company itself maintained that reports about Tendulkar were mere speculation.
"He is playing, so where the question of buying a team comes from? When someone is playing, how can he buy a team?" BCCI Vice President Rajeev Shukla, who is also a member of the IPL Governing Council, told 'Times Now'.
His views were shared by BCCI Joint Secretary MP Pandove who said, "Any player contracted with the Board can't have stakes in participating teams."
Shukla told reporters at the BCCI briefing that the IPL had received overwhelming response from companies. "We will first decide the media rights for the league before taking up the issue if franchise. All I can say is that we have received overwhelming response," he said.
According to reports, industrialists Vijay Mallya and Anil Ambani were interested in buying franchise, as was Hollywood star Russell Crowe.
Lalit Modi, BCCI Vice President and the mastermind behind the high-profile league, however, refused to comment on the issue. "I have no comments to make on media reports. Whatever clarifications we have to issue will be done at a later stage," Modi told PTI.
Future Group, which had sponsored the recent home series against Australia, confirmed that it was interested in buying one of the teams in the IPL but said reports of Tendulkar being a minority stakeholder were "purely speculative".
"Yes, we are interested in sponsoring a team in the IPL. However, we have not spoken to anybody or firmed up our plans as yet since we are still unclear about the structure and the format of the league," a Future Group spokesman said.