Pro Volleyball team owners have served legal notices on the Volleyball Federation of India over the abrupt termination of the league. Three of the six teams – Chennai Spartans, the Calicut Heroes, Kochi Blue Spikers – have served separate notices of the VFI, revealed a source privy to the development.
InsideSport.co is in possession of a copy of one of the notices.
The franchisees, alleging the breach of the tri-partite agreements with the league’s commercial rights owners Baseline Ventures and the VFI, have sought a compensation of up ₹ 5 crores if the VFI fails to reinstate the league in a timely manner.
Chennai Spartans have won the first season of the highly successful Pro Volleyball League last year. As the teams were preparing for the second season, the VFI had terminated the contract with its league partners Baseline Ventures without taking into confidence the franchisees, who had existing contracts with Baseline Ventures and the Federation.
The source has revealed that the other three franchises are also considering to initiate legal action again the federation.
The franchisees in the notices to the federation have alleged that the termination of the league had come as a shock and financial setback as they had been preparing for the second season.
The second season of the league was confirmed following a meeting between the world governing body FIVB, Baseline Ventures, the VFI, and the franchises. The outcome of the meeting was seen as a go-ahead to Baseline Ventures to conduct the second season as the league’s commercial partner had eradicated all doubts over alleged financial irregularities by submitting their financial reports audited Deloitte.
The franchisees have further stated that VFI subsequently had communicated about the intention of starting a new volleyball league. But no clarity regarding the composition, dynamics, format or schedule of the new league was provided. However, the confusion was cleared as the VFI had announced that the new season of Pro Volleyball would be conducted from February 25, 2020, by Baseline Ventures.
However, the Pro Volleyball League contract was terminated in November last year. The matter was then referred to a sole arbitrator, Justice (Retd) K Kannan, who has ruled that there was no ground to terminate the contract and further stated that the federation did not follow due process to terminate the contract.
The franchisees’ move comes as another blow to the VFI, which is embroiled in various other issues, including the directive from the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs to complete the elections of the federation before April.
InsideSport tried to contact VFI secretary-general Ramavatar Singh Jakhar for his response to the notices sent by the franchisees. His phone was switched off. A message has been sent and his response will be published as we receive it.