Modi 'unperturbed', counties furious over ECB allegations
Slapped with a second show-cause notice by the Indian cricket board, Indian Premier League's suspended chief Lalit Modi said he is "unperturbed by allegations", and was backed by the English counties which outrightly rejected their cricket board chairman Giles Clarke's claims that he was trying to set up a parallel league in England.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Clarke in an e-mail to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) alleged that Modi had made proposals to representatives of the Test-match counties at a meeting in Delhi that were "detrimental to Indian cricket, English cricket and world cricket at large".
Based on Clarke's e-mail, the BCCI sent a second show-cause notice to Modi, asking him to reply within 15 days. Modi is already facing the heat following the IPL controversy and has been charged with five counts of financial irregularties.
"Another day. Another show cause notice. Any guesses as to who's purpose ECB's Giles Clark was attempting to serve?," Modi tweeted on Friday.
"At IPL Finals, I used a quotation from Bhagwat Geeta 'Fear not what is untrue'. I believe in this. Thus, I am unperturbed by allegations."
"A lot of you asking my views on case in Supreme Court filed by Mutthiah. All I want to say is case is sub judice. Truth will prevail here too."
Clarke, who is in Barbados for the World Twenty20, refused to divulge the contents of the e-mail he sent to the BCCI.
It is alleged that in the meeting between Modi and three counties, he told them a city franchise scheme in England would be backed by the IPL. Colin Povey, the Warwickshire chief executive, Yorkshire's chief executive Stewart Regan, and Lancashire committee member David Hodgkiss attended in the meeting.
Clarke alleged the meeting discussed a parallel IPL in England, in which eight existing Indian franchises would bid for English counties. It was alleged that Modi proposed a deal in which IPL would guarantee each county a minimum of $3-5 million per year plus a staging fee of $1.5 million.
The allegations have infuriated the counties.
"Yorkshire's chairman Colin Graves rejected any implication that Modi and his group had been involved in secret or destructive negotiations and insisted that Clarke had been given notes of the meeting," The Guardian reported.
Graves, who also chairs a Test-match county pressure group which is pressing for an elite Twenty20 competition in England, rejected the accusations that the game could be about to be "hijacked".
"This is totally overblown," Graves said.
"It was a fact-finding mission. Lalit Modi did not put a proposition on the table. There were no secret proposals, no secret agenda, nothing underhand," Graves said.
Regan, the Yorkshire chief executive, said the meeting was attended “in an educational capacity."
"The success of IPL proves that cricket is a product people want to buy and sponsors want to get involved with. Those were the key learning areas we were interested in,” he said.
Revealing threadbare the details of the meeting, Graves said there was a proper business discussion about how things might develop in the future, the sort of discussions that can benefit the whole of English cricket.
"Stewart Regan took notes of the meeting and forwarded them to all the Test grounds. I then passed those notes to Giles Clarke. Lalit Modi invited all representatives of the Test grounds to be his personal guests at the IPL final. We turned the invitation down as we were not in a position to discuss anything in detail," Graves said.
"We have not been guaranteed anything, but if anybody puts anything on the table we will discuss it. We have nine Test grounds and only seven Tests a year. We have to find ways to fill these grounds outside the England team. The nine Test grounds are united in the belief we cannot allow the status quo to continue," Graves said.
A number of English counties have investigated links with IPL franchises as a potential source of income.
Counties with Test-match grounds and the MCC have made no secret of their desire to find new sources of revenue to pay for heavy investment. They recently formed a working party to investigate a possible new tournament, but denied that they were looking at city franchises.
This week, Clarke was reported as telling them to stop meeting unless all 18 counties were involved.
"There is no future in us creating another Twenty20 competition for all 18 counties. It is not attractive enough to fill the Test grounds. We have to create something new and exciting, a tournament with the appeal of IPL, a British version. We will continue to put these ideas to Giles," Graves said.