The Board of Control for Cricket in India, at an emergency meeting on Sunday, decided to sack two of the existing Indian Premier League (IPL) teams — Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab — from the tournament.
A third new entrant, the Kochi team, was given a deadline of 10 days to shape up.
At the end of the 105-minute meeting, BCCI president Shashank Manohar explained the reasons for the drastic step. “In both these cases, the initial bid was made by one company, but the agreement with the IPL was entered into with another company,” he noted.
The initial bid for Rajasthan Royals - partly owned by actor Shilpa Shetty and her businessman husband Raj Kundra – was made by an entity called Emerging Media. However, by the time the agreement was signed it had metamorphosed into Jaipur IPL Cricket Pvt Ltd.
Similarly the bid for Kings XI was made a loose group including actor Preity Zinta, businessmen Ness Wadia and Mohit Burman, among others. But the IPL agreement for Kings XI’s participation was signed with K.P.H. Dream Cricket Pvt Ltd. The showcause notices to the owners of both teams cite the specific clauses of the agreement the teams have contravened, and even charge Rajas-than Royals with furnishing false information. They also note that the agreement gives the BCCI every right to terminate their membership of the IPL, if there is any change in their ownership pattern.
Following the upheaval that saw former commissioner Lalit Modi’s exit from the IPL in April, all IPL teams are being probed by the Enforcement Directorate for violations of foreign exchange laws while transferring funds for the purchase of players.
Hindustan Times has reported on the ED finding evidence of violations in the case of at least Rajasthan Royals (Rajasthan Royals broke forex rules, says ED, HT, July 13) The affected teams — and their supporters — reacted with anger and surprise.
“I’m not sure we can have the next round of IPL if teams are treated like this,” said Kundra, adding that he was contemplating legal actions. “Honestly too shocked to react, just disappointed,” tweeted his wife Shilpa Shetty. Industrialist Vijay Mallya, who owns Royal Challengers, Bangalore, was the most scathing.
“I wonder if IPL franchisees are serious stakeholders whose investments and participation are respected or are they slaves who only come and play?” he tweeted.
In a statement, the King’s XI too expressed its shock and sadness, Ultimatum to Kochi Hindustan Times had reported on Sunday that while two teams were likely to be barred, Kochi could live another day.
That’s exactly what happened. The Kochi franchise, marred by infighting between various stakeholders, was served a 10-day notice to settle their disputes.
“You are hereby called upon to furnish to the BCCI a document executed by all the members that all your disputes have been resolved …within 10 days,” the showcause notice to them reads.