Precisely three weeks are left for Indian Premier League 10 to start, but uncertainty looms large whether the curtain on world’s richest cricket event will raise ceremoniously. Problems at present are plenty. State associations to host the IPL games have serious financial concerns, franchisees are faced with lack of interest from corporate. And, Board of Control for Cricket in India’s Committee of Administrators is not certain about what the rules says. Only certainty the CoA has is that ‘it will go by the rules’.
The lone bright spot so far has been the declarations from the broadcaster and the digital media rights holder that they will be gunning for Rs 1,300 crores and Rs 200 crores in earnings respectively.
Each staging association gets a grant of Rs 60 lakh per IPL match. Of this, Rs 30 lakh comes from the IPL franchisee and an equal amount from the BCCI. This money goes towards match and practice expenses which include floodlights, ground preparation, ground staff, co-ordination, etc. The associations are running out of time to ‘upgrade’ the facilities and start preparations for hosting the IPL matches. However, they are faced with financial issues. In the past BCCI would release part of this money in advance, which the board is not able to do now in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict on the Lodha Commission recommendations.
Saurashtra Cricket Association, which will be staging five IPL games, had already written to the BCCI for release of funds. “They (BCCI) have still not answered. It will be difficult to upgrade the facilities,” says the Mr Madhukar S Worah, Joint Secretary, Surashtra Cricket Association.
BCCI’s Committee of Administrators confirms that it has received the letter. The CoA Member, Ms Diana Edulji told InsideSport that “they will follow whatever the rules suggest. The CoA is meeting in Delhi on Friday (March 17, 2017) to discuss the issue. If there are directives from Supreme Court, those will be adhered to. If there is a need to visit Supreme Court that will be decided”.
Saurashtra has written to the BCCI Chief Executive, Mr Rahul Johri, on March 10 for release of funds. Mr Worah says: “They (BCCI) have not even answered. We do understand there was a long week-end. We will wait for another four-five days. The BCCI should make the position clear. If required they should go to the Supreme Court. We need to have a certainty on our payments.
“Even if there is a delay, the board should confirm to us that the payments will be made on time. If the BCCI says yes, if it’s cleared by the CoA we have no issues. But if it is delayed for long there will be problems. If there is no certainty then all the IPL centres will take a collective decision,” adds Mr Worah.
Karnataka State Cricket Association to is face with a similar fund crunch. According to media reports BCCI owes crores of rupees to the KSCA, which includes the reimbursement of the expenses made to the National Cricket Academy and payments to the first class players from the State.
InsideSport has reported on March 3, 2017, that six of the eight IPL franchisees were without title sponsors. The situation has not changes in two weeks’ time. Prevailing uncertainties are further adding to their woes. “This situation will affect un adversely. As the time runs out, we don’t get favorable deals. The sponsorship values tend to decline,” said marketing head of an IPL franchisee.
According to the current rules, the BCCI releases funds to every state body for hosting international, domestic and IPL matches. But with the Lodha panel diktat on funds being released only after compliance with the suggested reforms, the state bodies find themselves in the lurch.
For now, the IPL staging centers (host associations) are not ready to move on without certainties about funds, BCCI are not ready to risk any breach of the Supreme Court diktats and CoA has not clarity on rules. The situation has left IPL with threatening uncertainties even as the monetary picture on the broadcast front is rosier than never before.