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BCCI divided over decision to involve Dubai Sports City in organising Asia Cup

As per current plan, the event will be organised through Dubai Sports City (DSC) and the financial expenditure stands at approximately $8 million. But according to the mails exchanged between the BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, the tournament could have well been hosted at around $5 million if the board had not handed the organisational duties to DSC.

cricket Updated: Aug 17, 2018 19:44 IST
Baidurjo Bhose
Baidurjo Bhose
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
BCCI,Board of Control for Cricket in India,Asia Cup
A view of logo of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). (Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) signed an agreement on Friday for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to host the 2018 edition of the Asia Cup. Going ahead with the proposed plan, the BCCI is set to forego forex revenue, according to a letter written by BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry. As per current plan, the event will be organised through Dubai Sports City (DSC) and the financial expenditure stands at approximately $8 million. But according to the mails exchanged between the BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, the tournament could have well been hosted at around $5 million if the board had not handed the organisational duties to DSC.

In a chain of mails, accessed by Hindustan Times, the treasurer not only asked the CEO about the whole decision-making process wherein it was decided that the tournament will be hosted in UAE and not any other country, but also questioned the financial planning for the tournament as a result of which the Emirates Cricket Board will get $5.5 million in ticket revenue.

“I do not subscribe to the unilateral and the apparent non-negotiable seeming decision to organise the tournament ‘only through’ the Dubai Sports City. When the BCCI is the host and millions of dollars are to be expended in hosting the tournament, it is not proper to either abdicate our responsibility of undertaking our core activity of organizing cricket, even if it is in another country, or to do so in a manner where there is no obvious process followed for the decision making in organising the tournament through the Dubai Sports City, which is apparently a private organisation in the UAE.

“The BCCI would be required to pay the Emirates Cricket Board/Dubai Sports City around 8 million USD for the conduct of the tournament. The BCCI would receive 4.09 million USD which is the same amount that the PCB, SLC or BCB would receive. The first 5.5 million USD of ticket sales (which is included in the 8 million) is what the BCCI would have to pay the ECB. Had we organised the tournament ourselves in the UAE rather than go through essentially an event manager (DSC) who would do the work that we are normally required to do, we may have done it anywhere between 4.5 to 5 million USD with our learnings from 2014 (IPL),” Chaudhry wrote.

“Therefore it appears to me (from the information provided to me and keeping in mind that I am not aware of any meetings, any discussions relating to budgeting etc. and that who all were involved therein from the BCCI etc.) that we may end up paying at least 3 million USD more than we ought to have.”

Chaudhry also raised questions on why the BCCI wasn’t part of negotiations when the ECB and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) were discussing the budget for hosting the continental showpiece event.

“I find it somewhat difficult to believe that a host, that is required to pay a vendor that it is engaging to do a job for it, would not be part of negotiations regarding the budget/commercials for the job, especially when the pay-out is to the tune of about 8 million USD and when the cost could have been reasonably lesser,” he wrote.

The treasurer also pointed at a possible case of clash of interests when he mentioned that the president of DSC is also the vice president of the ECB. “Did the BCCI ask for the Dubai Sports City to be appointed as the event managers for the Asia Cup event in the UAE or did the ECB suggest the same? There seems to be a cloud of secrecy around that. Was there any disclosure in the discussion that the vice president of the ECB, who was apparently present in the meeting and has communicated the decision vide the email, is in fact the president of the Dubai Sports City as well?” he asked.

Another BCCI official said that it was a case of losing the opportunity to earn close to $3 million with a little bit of better planning. “The BCCI had seamlessly hosted the IPL in UAE in 2014. In fact, under the guidance of FEMA expert Ravichandran, it was a cakewalk almost. Every step was closely monitored by him during the T20 league and there were no issues whatsoever. I don’t understand why it was decided that this time round the tournament will be organised by DSC instead of the BCCI,” he said.

Hindustan Times tried to get in touch with BCCI CEO Rahul Johri for a response to the queries regarding the decision to rope in DSC as an organising agency, but he did not respond to calls.

First Published: Aug 17, 2018 19:30 IST