I am not against the BCCI (Board of Cricket Control In India) but it’s not fair to terminate two teams from the Indian Premier League by simply stating that they have defaulted on the ownership structure just ahead of Season 4," says Shilpa Shetty who is the ‘face’ of Rajasthan Royals that was recently dropped from the IPL rooster.
King’s XI Punjab, co-owned by actor Preity Zinta, is the other team that has been axed. "Preity and I have been talking, we’re on the same page on this and willing to co-operate with the Enforcement Directorate on the on-going probe. It’s in the best interests of the game, nationally and internationally," asserts Shetty, who is distressed with the way her team has been treated, pointing to the lack of transparency.
"If you default in business, you can cough up compensation, but expulsion without a fair trial is unacceptable. As individuals involved in multiple businesses, we’re not interested in unfair trade practices," she insists, explaining that the ownership pattern changed only after her husband, businessman Raj Kundra bought into the team in Season Two. "We had BCCI support then and Raj paid the amount stipulated. If they had issues, they could have raised it then. Why are they blowing it up now?"
Shetty supports her team’s ex-captain Shane Warne’s stance on the incident that he’s put up on his blog. He says, "All of us put in our faith in the BCCI and the IPL Governing Council. We still have faith, especially in the BCCI, because it does a lot of work to keep the game breathing in the country."
Would they drop co-owners Suresh and Aditya Chellaram to appease the BCCI? "No way!" Shetty retorts. "It’s rude to even think that. They were there long before us." On the subject of once-good-friend Lalit Modi, Shetty says, "He has nothing to do with our team. I don’t know anything of his current state of affairs."
What about the Football Premier League that she was expected to start in India with her husband? “I am not even thinking about that or movies now,” she says. “I’m pre-occupied with settling the internal matters of my team.”
The story so far...
The IPL’s governing council on October 10 terminated Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals, which were under the scanner for dubious ownership patterns and breaching ownership rules.
The decision has reduced the IPL to eight teams, including the new Pune and Kochi teams.
Reports say, Rajasthan Royals assured its players that their accounts will be settled as soon as the BCCI pays them their dues from season two and three.
Rajasthan Royals chairman Manoj Badale also wrote a letter to BCCI president Shashank Manohar stating shock at the turn of events and stating that the board was in the loop about the shareholdings and transfers through extensive mail correspondence in early 2009 and also later.
Manohar has been quoted in reports as saying that the expulsion will not be revoked.