The dispute between Sahara India and BCCI may not end soon as there have been reports that BCCI has rejected Sahara’s request of letting them field six foreign players in the next season of IPL. In the meeting between Subrata Roy from Sahara and N. Srinivasan, president BCCI on Sunday, BCCI however allowed Sahara to replace the injured Yuvraj Singh, saying that as per the rule of IPL, Sahara is allowed to replace the left-hander.
However, after over three hours of deliberation at its working committee meeting, the BCCI said it has communicated its decisions with regards to Sahara's demands to the company and was hoping for a "favourable response". It made it clear that while it could show some flexibility but it should not be expected to make exceptions for the corporate giant, which owns the costliest IPL team (Pune Warriors bought at Rs 1,700 crore).
The BCCI's stand, which is being interpreted as tough, will mean that the week-long stalemate will persist for some more time till Sahara decides its future course of action.
Earlier this month, Sahara group had backed out from the IPL-4 auction.
Sahara in response to BCCI came out with a press release stressing on the following points:
• 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 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 Yuvraj's caliber.
• 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.
• 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.