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Kochi IPL: picture still hazy

A. Vinod & Nandakumar Marar


Franchisee has sent a letter to BCCI president

Seeks more time for formation of joint venture


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM/MUMBAI: Rendezvous Sports World Private Limited, the franchisee of the Kochi IPL team, has met the deadline imposed on it by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), a fact confirmed by the BCCI Chief Administrative Officer, Ratnakar Shetty, on Wednesday.

Speaking to mediapersons, Prof. Shetty said, “The Kochi IPL franchisee has sent a letter to the BCCI president (Shashank Manohar). He is studying the same. The Board's legal team is also going through the letter.”

Prof. Shetty who parried questions on the subject also said the date for the next meeting of the IPL governing council was yet to be finalised.

Relief

The confirmation by the Board CAO about the receipt about the letter, at the end of a 10-day deadline set by the BCCI on the Kochi franchisee to put its house in order and register a joint venture in accordance with IPL regulations, has evoked a sigh of relief from cricket lovers of Kerala.

However, the picture still remained hazy as reports emerged late into the evening that the letter from RSWPL to the BCCI did not contain any proposal for the formation of the joint venture as suggested by the IPL governing council but only sought more time to do so.

Confirming this, RSWPL spokesman Satyajit Gaikwad told The Hindu on Wednesday, “Our letter to BCCI says that we are in advanced negotiations with our investors and in view of that, time may be permitted. We have also requested the Board that in case any other communication is received, Rendezvous may be consulted before the BCCI takes a decision.”

Asked to clarify news reports about a 10-day period sought from the Board, he said: “Any other letter would be a fictitious document, submitted by investors, referring to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 10 per cent free equity agreed to by RSWPL. I believe the letter is dated April 23.”

The five-hour meeting on Tuesday night, attended by members of the Rendezvous Sports Private Limited (parent company of RSWPL) which holds 25 per cent sweat equity in the consortium and the other five investors, had ended in a deadlock with RSPL not yielding to the majority demand that its share of sweat equity be diluted to 10 per cent and that it give up its right to lead the consortium.

Reports, which could not be independently confirmed, also said the principal investors — Anchor Earth, Parinee Developers Private Limited, Film Waves, Anand Shyam and Vivek Venugopal — were considering approaching the BCCI after ditching RSWPL at one point of time during the day before dropping it altogether.

What seems to have forced the investors to give up the idea of dropping RSWPL from the consortium and bring in fresh investors is the IPL regulation that no franchisee would be allowed to change its consortium members through the first three years.

Ball in BCCI court

The ball, apparently, is now in BCCI's court, particularly as indications are that the Kochi franchisee, despite meeting the deadline, has not made much headway in forming the proposed joint venture company.

Having already decided to scrap Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab from the fourth edition of the IPL, it will be therefore only interesting to see how the BCCI will react to the strange ways of one of its two new franchisees.

Meanwhile, the Kerala Cricket Association has welcomed the RSWPL letter to BCCI. Reacting to the emerging situation, the official spokesman of the KCA said though the association was not aware of the contents of the letter, it was still a positive move which would ensure the Kochi franchisee's continuance in the IPL fold.

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