There is confusion all around about the future of the Indian Premier League and the two banned teams--Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings--as cricket officials and those affected by the recent ban explore legal and other options out of the quandary. The 8-team league cannot function without two teams. The fixtures, venues, team fee pool, the number of matches, will all be thrown into disarray, not to mention the future of the players who have been contracted by the two teams.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is considering running the two franchises under its own banner, reported the Indian Express.
"It will be a franchise under the BCCI banner and we will take care of everything. These two teams will not have to pay the annual franchise fees to the board. We will take care of the teams, like in case of the Rajasthan Cricket Association," a BCCI official told The Indian Express.
The teams Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were suspended from the IPL by the panel for two years. Two individuals, one of them a part owner and another a relative of the owners, have been banned for life from any activities related to the sport for illegal betting and bringing “disrepute to the game”.
The IPL Governing Council will meet for an emergency session in Mumbai on Sunday. Agencies reported that the BCCI is keen to ensure that the cash-rich league remains an eight-team tournament.
"We have started discussions on the way forward. We have studied the Justice Lodha committee report, the Governing Council will discuss all aspects of this verdict and decide the future course of action," a BCCI official told PTI.
"The BCCI can run the two teams for two years and the original owners can come back after the ban period is over. The other option is to invite fresh bids for two new teams since many corporations have expressed an interest in buying an IPL team," he said.
If the BCCI invites bids for two new teams, it would increase the number of teams to 10 after CSK and RR complete their ban period, PTI reported. Since fresh bids will generate more money for the league, some members of the board are in favour of that option.
But BCCI running two teams may not be economically viable since the entire cost of managing the team and paying the players their salaries will have to be borne by the Board.
In case the BCCI invites bids for two new teams, all the players of CSK and RR will go back to the auction pool. Star players like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Steve Smith, James Faulkner, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, Mike Hussey and Ashish Nehra will then be up for grabs again.
A fresh auction was supposed to be held before the 2017 IPL but current situation may drive the BCCI to have one before the scheduled time.
Gurunath Meiyappan, a former Team Principal of India Cements Ltd (ICL)-owned franchise CSK and Raj Kundra, co-owner of the Jaipur IPL that runs Rajasthan Royals (RR), were suspended for life from any matches conducted by BCCI.
Seen as a clean-up of the mess following the worst scandal that broke out two years ago in the popular cricket league, the punishments were handed down by a three-member panel headed by former CJI R M Lodha which was asked by the Supreme Court to decide the quantum of punishments after finding them guilty of betting.
Shocked by the order, the owners of CSK, whose top players include top India players Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, held discussions with their lawyers and have planned to move the apex court against the panel's decision.
Similarly, the Rahul Dravid-mentored RR, whose players include stand-in India captain Ajinkya Rahane and Stuart Binny, were also said to be planning moves to seek relief. Since it is a Supreme Court appointed committee, entrusted with the task of giving the quantum of punishment, experts feel the teams may not get the relief they expect.
Meanwhile, at an Annual General Meeting in September, many BCCI board members are expected to request Jagmohan Dalmiya to step down on health grounds to ensure the smooth running of the board. Dalmiya was elected as as BCCI chief unopposed in March.
(With inputs from PTI)