22 Oct 2017
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BCCI to form working group to ensure IPL’s future; to give recos in six weeks

MUMBAI: In order to deal with the implications of the Justice RM Lodha Committee’s verdict on the IPL betting scandal, the governing council of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has decided to constitute a working group while standing divided on the fate of the franchises Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR).

All the members, however, agreed that the next edition of the IPL should have a minimum of eight teams so that legal hassles would be avoided regarding the broadcasting agreement. Multi Screen Media (MSM) has the broadcast rights to the IPL.

The governing council of the IPL decided that chairman Rajeev Shukla would head the new group and give its recommendations within six weeks.

The decision was taken at a meeting in Mumbai of the IPL governing council on Sunday, where members discussed the implications of the verdict that suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals from the domestic T20 league for two years.

One group, including BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, favoured termination of the two suspended IPL franchises. Another section, however, said that the BCCI should take over the functioning of the CSK and RR during the two-year suspension period.

On suggestion of a ten-team structure, IPL COO Sundar Raman opposed the idea as he felt that it would lead to logistical problems with the BCCI having to host 94 matches per season. But the IPL had conducted a season with 10 teams in 2011, former treasurer Ajay Shirke said.

On an official note, Thakur said: “The BCCI respects the verdict of the Lodha commission and will abide by their decisions in toto. The members recognised that there is an urgent need to understand the impact of this decision and the wider ramifications for the BCCI in detail, so as to uphold the paramountcy of the game in our country.

“This group will work within a time-bound period of six weeks and report their recommendations to the IPL GC, which will deliberate and share their views with the working committee of the BCCI for further action”.

Shukla said, “House has entrusted me with responsibility to make a small group that will take six weeks to submit a report as to how we implement the order and way forward for the IPL. How to conduct the IPL, how many teams and all stakeholders CAC members, sponsors, broadcasters, state associations, legal experts that report will come to governing council…”

“All stakeholders have given their opinion. Everybody is of the view that the show must go on. And I reiterate that IPL 9 will be bigger and greater.”

Shukla refused to reveal details of the meeting. “We cannot divulge the deliberations of the meeting. A sub-group has been constituted which will recommend what needs to be done. Members will be announced tomorrow (Monday). We have decided to implement Justice Lodha’s verdict in spirit and decided to work accordingly. All stakeholders have given their opinion, everybody is of the view that the show must go on.”

“A Supreme Court-appointed committee has deliberated on it [the IPL scandal] and after it has given its verdict, I don’t think there is scope for anybody else to comment.”

The Justice Lodha Committee was constituted by the Supreme Court in January to announce the degree of punishment against Gurunath Meiyappan, Raj Kundra and the two franchisees—Chenai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. In the verdict, Justice RM Lodha, former Chief Justice of India, said that the BCCI was free to terminate the indicted franchises. Lodha’s clarification came in the wake of some confusion over the committee’s proposal, specifically over the extent to which the BCCI can act against the two franchises as a follow-up to the committee’s decision.

Clause 11.3 (c) of the BCCI-IPL franchise agreement says the agreement can be terminated if “the Franchise, any Franchise Group Company and/or any owner acts in any way which has a material adverse effect upon the reputation or standing of the League, BCCI-IPL, BCCI, the Franchise, the team (or any other team in the League) and/or the game of cricket.”

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya was not present at the meeting for health reasons. Ajay Shirke, Ravi Shastri and Jyotiraditya Scindia participated through video-conferencing.

Earlier in an interview to CNN-IBN, Shukla had said, “The report is not a black-spot on the BCCI and we are cooperating with the Lodha Commission. The BCCI is arranging for all the meetings and we did not oppose the Lodha verdict.”

Shashank Manohar’s views

Prior to the IPL GC meeting, former BCCI president Shashank Manohar said that the BCCI cannot adopt the two teams. That is because its rules and regulations do not allow it to do so.

Manohar blamed N Srnivasan for the mess. “Srinivasan should have stepped down in 2013. No individual is ahead of institution and he too is the root of all scandals and should immediately step down from his position as chairman of the ICC.

“The BCCI [under Srinivasan] has done nothing to improve its image and now the Board has no option but to implement Lodha Committee’s findings,” Manohar continued.

He also felt that IPL COO Sundar Raman should have been removed immediately after the Mudgal Committee report was made public. “Raman should have gone immediately after the Mudgal Committee report found him prima facie guilty of wrongdoings. He ought to have stepped down immediately at that time. Now, to restore the faith of people in the IPL and the game, Raman needs to go,” he said.