CoA stand ‘increases uncertainties’; to hit IPL sponsorship



State cricket associations, which are required to stage the Indian Premier League games, are in a state of shock over the tough stance adopted by the Board for Control of Cricket in India’s Committee of Administrators. The ‘threat of legal action’ is likely to increase uncertainties for the 10th edition of the IPL. The scenario is also painting a gloomy picture for IPL sponsorship values.

“It looks like a stand-off between two camps of Indian cricket. One camp is State Associations, which in fact is the old BCCI. The other faction is the Committee of Administrators, the Supreme Court-appointed body which is supreme now. Instead of questioning the intentions of each other, it is important for both to come together in the bigger interest of the game.

The prevailing scenario is not going to help the market. The sponsorship values will suffer a hit, as market forces will adopt a wait and watch approach. Sponsors will not like to commit their monies among uncertainties. The buyer off course will get a better negotiation power,” says Mr Harish Bijoor, brand expert and founder of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

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Saurashtra Cricket Association earlier last week had written to the BCCI Chief Executive, Mr Rahul Johri, for an assurance that the IPL payments to the States will be made in a timely manner. The State association is now accusing CoA of non-co-operation. “We will know about the proceedings of (CoA) meeting once we see the minutes. But if reports in media are true then is a serious matter. Instead of finding a solution, if they start threatening us, the State associations might have to meet and discuss their concerms. CoA is taking an unlawful stand. We have simply raised our concern and asked for an assurance for our payments. What they are doing now is threatening,” says Mr Madhukar S Worah, Joint Secretary, Surashtra Cricket Association. “Even if they had gone to Supreme Court for directions. The court won’t have said no (for releasing the IPL payments).”

Though, the States are cautious in their approach. “We want IPL to run successfully. But, how is that possible without money. We are seeking an assurance from BCCI. Either you give us in writing that the payment will be made on time, or you tell us how you are going to make the payment. Later on, you should not tell us, the Supreme Court is not allowing us to release money.”

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The State states associations staging IPL get Rs 60 lakh for each match to meet the expenses they incur on these games. Of this, 50% is paid in advance by the host franchisee. As per previous practice, BCCI would release the remaining 50 per cent (Rs 30 lakh) two weeks after each match. However, in the present scenario Supreme Court has laid strict guidelines on release of BCCI funds to the State associations. The board is not allowed to release any money to the state bodies which have not fully implemented the Lodha Committee recommendations. These associations fear that BCCI will not be able to release their payments for IPL, too.

According to reports Karnataka has to receive up to Rs 40 crore. The State, home venue for Royal Challengers Bangalore, has to host seven IPL games. “Every association is spending up to five crore rupees on domestic tournaments. This includes players fee. Even the payments for the 2015-16 season are not released. At least, you make players payments,” says Mr Worah.

State associations now have little or no say in the present BCCI set up. Even a legal option might not be a viable option for them as following the Supreme Court verdict on the Lodha Committee recommendations, the dice is heavily loaded against them. Fully adhering to the Lodha Committee recommendations is the only option for State bodies to get their funds from the BCCI. This will spell the end of the road for the ‘strongmen’ running these bodies. At present, there seems no way out from this ‘catch 22’ situation. The sufferer, if any, is the sport and the league.