The much awaited players' auction of the ambitious Indian Badminton League was postponed for the second time. And given the circumstances, it was the most sensible decision taken by Badminton Association of India's commercial partners Sporty Solutionz.
The players' auction for the inaugural edition of the $1 million prize money tournament to be played from August 14-31 was to be held on July 19 at New Delhi. But barely 48 hours before the auction day were the teams informed that the auction will now be held on July 22.
On the face of it, this will be the second time that the auction is postponed since the BAI president Akhilesh Das Gupta had announced the June 30th date after a Governing Council meeting of the IBL at the start of the month.
However, in reality, this should be termed as the first real postponement since till June 30 not a single team was in place and hence there was no question of holding an auction on that day. For me, the June 30th announcement was nothing more than wishful thinking by the President.
So where do the IBL preparations stand now?
Five of the six franchises have been announced and the sixth, Mumbai franchise, has been bagged by actor Nagarjuna and cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar, according to the Times of India. An official announcement is expected this evening.
Getting these companies on board has not been an easy task. The organisers may claim that there were about 30-40 interested parties to buy the six franchises, it cannot be true.
Because if that was the case, then it is difficult to understand why the deals with the franchisees were not done long before the auction date.
The Pune franchisee, to be owned by the Burman family of the Dabur group, was only announced on Wednesday evening and considering that the last team will be announced today, it was crystal clear that they would not have got enough time to prepare for the auction.
Even if we admit that the organisers are only suggesting names of the coaches and administrator to the teams due to deadlines, it would be pretty difficult for any team to put together their core team in such a short period.
The other problem that has to be addressed before the actual auction begins is circulating the final list of foreign players who have confirmed their participation and clarifying the actual bidding process.
The teams have been given a tentative list of 150 players. But the rumours of some high profile names like world number one Lee Chong Wei and some stars from Indonesia pulling out of the IBL have only made them edgy.
Regarding the actual auction process, the teams are still waiting for a proper communication with rules and regulations only after which they can make a fool-proof strategy. But they will probably have to wait till Sunday, July 21, briefing to get clarity on the same.
The lack of proper communication from the organisers with the teams has already started to create some tension and hopefully the BAI and Sporty Solutionz would sort out all these issues before Sunday and we can finally get on with the IBL with the auction on its revised date, July 22.