Sahara's 'sporting' response to BCCI is pretty damning

The working committee of the BCCI unanimously rejected Sahara Group’s primary demand of allowing their franchise Pune Warriors to field six foreign players for the next edition of Indian Premier League (IPL).

“The president apprised the Working Committee about Sahara’s demands — one of the primary issue being allowed six foreign players for the next edition. The entire working committee was unanimous in its opinion that this demand is unacceptable and hence it was turned down,” a senior BCCI official preferring anonymity, told PTI.

Elaborating on the issue, the official said, “The demand was certainly illogical as members felt that it would aggrieve the eight other franchises. The members felt that in order to meet one aggrieved party's demand, you can’t irk eight other stakeholders in the BCCI property.”

 Saharas sporting response to BCCI is pretty damning

Sahara chief Subrato Roy. AFP

Give below is the press release issued by Sahara in it's entirety:

The senior management of Sahara led by Shri Subrata Roy Sahara, Managing Worker & Chairman, Sahara India Pariwar & BCCI represented by Shri N. Srinivasan, President – BCCI, Shri Rajeev Shukla, Shri Sanjay Jagdale, Shri Ajay Shirke & Shri Sundar Raman met in Mumbai on the 12th Feb 2012 to discuss the issues that had been raised by Sahara when it announced its pull out from all forms of Cricket in India on the morning of 4th Feb 2012.

Shri N. Srinivasan, President – BCCI, tried to explain the limitations from the perspective of framework of rules with respect to the issues raised by Sahara. He asked Shri Sundar to explain the issues with a perspective of the rules.

Shri Subrata Roy Sahara requested the BCCI officials not to elaborate on the rules by saying that any disagreement in sports should be taken in perfect sporting spirit and should be resolved accordingly. He further requested the BCCI President & his team that there is no point in quoting the rule book and debating it word by word. After all, they were BCCI’s own rules and not some constitutional rules of the Govt of India.

Shri Roy also put forward the point that Sahara has already announced and committed itself to Rs 1000 crore worth Sports & Social Development Programs and it is not possible for Sahara to go back on its commitment.

For Cricket, Sahara was open to discussions so that a positive and harmonious balance could be created between the committed Sports & Social Development programs and Cricket. The following issues were the subject of discussion:

· The issue of players’ was discussed so as to ensure a level playing field. To ensure that, the need for an open Auction to be held in 2013 was also put forward. Till then, since there is no same level Indian player left who can match up to the level of Shri Yuvraj Singh, we should be allowed one extra overseas player in the playing XI. We should realize that even this is also not enough to compensate for the loss of somebody of Shri Yuvraj’s caliber.

Shri Subrata Roy also put across very firmly that if all teams are balanced, the tournament and all the matches will be very competitive and that viewers will enjoy the competition else the tournament will lose its charm. This is the precise reason why Sahara had insisted on an open auction last year after the induction of 2 new teams.

· Shri Roy said that considering the reduced number of matches that actually took place against the earlier representation of BCCI before tendering for the new Franchise, we have ended up bidding 27% extra if we go by the revenues that we would have accrued from media rights, gate receipts, sponsorship revenue etc. There has to be a reduction in the Franchise Fee as per the above.

· The possibility of Sahara seeking strategic partners for its Franchise, though this is already factored in the contract for every team. But as Sahara has already announced nationwide Social Development programs worth Rs 1000 crore, it may go for a strategic partner

· The fact that none of the earlier 8 teams who entered IPL in 2008, deposit any Bank Guarantee against Franchise Fee. Out of the remaining 9 teams in the League, only Sahara is required to deposit the Bank Guarantee against the Franchise Fee. Considering that Sahara has never defaulted in last 12 years in any payment that was due to BCCI, this is out and out discriminatory in nature

· Announcement of Sahara towards the Sports & Social Development programs

· Accordingly, if issues related to IPL are solved, then we could also discuss the sponsorship of the Indian cricket Team though it was also put forward that we have to balance our announced Sports & Social Development programs by partly diverting finances committed from Cricket into Social Activities.

On the subject of the sponsorship of Indian Cricket Team, the right to assign the sponsorship to other Corporates was vested with Sahara.

In the last 3-4 days, Shri Subrata Roy himself, and his team discussed the option of assigning full or partial sponsorship with some Corporates. This was done because Sahara has committed to continue to support the Team Sponsorship for 2-4 months till a new sponsor is on board, hence there was a need to finalise the same as soon as possible.

As an outcome of the discussions, we were very surprised to note that though they were interested in the opportunity, yet were not willing to pay more than 50-60% of the current value.

N.B. – BCCI had committed for a joint statement on the 13th/14th Feb but they have completely flouted it by breaking the news on the 12th Feb itself. Hence, it became imperative for us to clarify the requests that we had made to BCCI.

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Updated Date: Feb 13, 2012 16:58:36 IST