The Indian Premier League (IPL) is planning to pay a "retainership" to players from other countries to discourage them from joining the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL).
Although a final decision is yet to be taken, it seems that the IPL itself is divided over the move to pay the players to stop them from being snared by ICL, says an official of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The lucrative IPL, an arm of the BCCI and backed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), starts April 18. ICL, promoted by business tycoon Subhash Chandra, is organising its third tournament. Both tournaments are on Twenty20 format.
"The idea was floated by a powerful member of the IPL governing council who is also a former India player following a decision to get tougher with people or agencies around the world being approached aggressively by the ICL," the BCCI source told IANS on condition of anonymity.
"His idea was that one way to stop the players from signing up for the ICL was to pay them a certain amount (fee). For this, he argued, a fund could be earmarked for this purpose," the source disclosed.
But some members of IPL council colleagues do not agree.
"Those who are not in favour of giving retainership to players say that if the IPL starts giving fees, there will be no end to this mess because players from all over would start approaching IPL, saying that they are being approached by ICL," he said.
Also it would require a huge amount since the number of players could go up to as much as 250.
Another council member is said to have opined that since the IPL has some of the world's best players, it should not worry about fringe players being wooed away by the ICL.
IPL, comprising 59 matches, will be played over 45 days starting April 18. Matches will be telecast live on SET Max, which along with World Sports Group paid $1.026 billion to get the television rights for 10 years.
The winning team will receive $3 million.
The Champion's Twenty20 will follow IPL and it will comprise two teams each from Australia, Pakistan, England and South Africa besides India. It will carry a winning prize of $5 million.
The IPL governing council comprises BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi, who is its chairman and commissioner, former BCCI president I.S. Bindra, board vice-presidents Chirayu Amin and Rajeev Shukla and Delhi District and District Cricket Association president Arun Jaitely besides former India captains Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri.
Bindra will soon be replaced after his appointment as ICC's principal advisor.