Sign of fracture in IPL

March 9th, 2010

Fighting between key figures in Indian cricket is leading to a split in the IPL, which starts on Friday.

The Indian Premier League suffered a humiliating setback on Sunday when two extra teams for next year’s competition were put up for auction.

IPL commissioner Lalit Modi promised that an English Premier League soccer club and the MCC would be among the bidders, but they did not turn up at the auction. Only two bids were made and they were rejected and returned unopened.

Bidders had to put up $100-million (R738-million) just to participate in the auction.

The chairman of the Sahara group of companies, which sponsors the Indian team, objected to the bid deposits.

The division in Indian cricket appears to centre on the powerful secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, N Srinivasan, and Modi.

Srinivasan is a top Indian businessman and owner of the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. He will also become the next president of the board of control. He has been supported by the board’s current president, Shashank Manohar.

The auction flop on Sunday has increased suspicion that the IPL has fallen short of the money-spinning bonanza its creator had promised investors, according to The Times of London. It is now clear that IPL teams, bought for a total of more than $225-million, are unlikely to make a profit soon.

None of the teams has published a balance sheet that will stand up to scrutiny. But piecing together the data available publicly – and combining it with what team owners will divulge privately – it seems that all, bar the ailing King’s XI Punjab, broke even last year.

The profits owed much to Modi’s renegotiation of the TV rights that dominate IPL revenue. A deal agreed in March last year doubled the amount the teams receive – to about $15-million a year each. It came in the nick of time. Without it all the teams, bar, possibly, the Royals, would probably have plunged into the red.

Source : Times Live

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