The inaugural T20 Mumbai league has hit a major roadblock with a team owner pulling out of the competition even before the start of the tournament, according to multiple reports.
The city-based league saw a total of nine bidders contesting for the owning rights of the six teams while the player auctions will start on Wednesday. The tournament is scheduled to begin on 10 March leaving Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) in a massive fix in order to find a replacement.
According to a report in the Indian Express, Naman Developers, a city-based real estate company in the city had bought the Mumbai North team for Rs 6.5 crore, but later backed out citing that they had calculated the approximate losses to be higher than what they had been told before buying the team.
The report quoted a MCA official saying, “They felt it was not a profitable venture for the first two years. During the pre-bidding meeting, the interested teams were told that the loss of share will be 34% but later after the bidding got over, they were told it could go up to 85%. There is no central pool revenue at the moment, neither is there any clarity over media rights. Teams were bought for six crore and an additional two crore would have gone in buying players and branding. Naman Developers felt it was not worth investing.”
While another report in the Times of India linked team’s withdrawal to the ongoing Nirav Modi-Punjab National Bank scam.
A top MCA official told Times of India, “Yes, the Naman group wrote a letter to Probability Sports (the company formed by IIFL and Wizcraft to run the league) CEO Kadar Makani today, informing of their decision to back out from the league due to difficulty in arranging the bank guarantee.
"It’s a sensible decision on the group’s part to inform us right now, as we can give that team to the next-highest bidder after due diligence,” the official added.
MCA has given league owners a licence for five years. Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar was signed up as the brand ambassador of the league.
Former India players Vinod Kambli and Balwinder Singh Sandhu were the few names who have applied for the coaching role for T20 Mumbai League.