Kochi Tuskers Kerala have been expelled from the money-spinning Indian Premier League (IPL) for failing to meet their financial obligations.
N Srinivasan, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said the ruling body had dropped the Kochi franchise due to an unspecified breach of its contract. “We have terminated the franchise because the breach is not capable of being remedied,” he told reporters in Mumbai.
Kochi, who only made their IPL debut this year, finishing eighth in the 10-team competition, is reported to have defaulted on an annual payment of $33.1 million as a bank guarantee, according to the Indian media, with the IPL’s governing council now having to decide whether to have an auction for a new franchise.
Kochi was bought by little-known Rendezvous Sports World group for $333million at an auction last year when the Pune Warriors also joined the lucrative Twenty20 tournament.
The franchise were earlier involved in a dispute over its ownership structure before being cleared by the BCCI, which owns the IPL, to take part in the 2011 edition.
Incidentally, the BCCI’s working committee had last year rejected demands from Kochi and the Pune Warriors for a reduction in their franchisee fees.
The two new franchises had sought a 25 per cent waiver on the grounds that the BCCI had stated in the bidding document that each team would play 18 league matches in a season but the schedule was later reduced to 14 matches per team. The 94-match event was thus cut down to 74 matches.
Kochi has also been hitting the headlines due to its owners’ reported desire to shift the team’s base to Ahmedabad. The likes of Mahela Jayawardene, VVS Laxman, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sreesanth, RP Singh, Brendon McCullum and Parthiv Patel could all now be free to sign for one of the remaining nine IPL sides after representing Kochi last season.
Meanwhile, the owners of the Kochi Tuskers franchise have threatened legal action as their director Mukesh Patel said that they don’t have any dues outstanding and in fact the BCCI owes them $2.5-3.14 million (Dh 9.23-11.54m) next month as a share in the central revenue.
“We don’t have any outstanding dues with the BCCI. The termination is illegal. We will take them (BCCI) to court. In fact, the BCCI will be paying us Rs 12-15 crore (Dh 9.23-11.54m) next month as a part of our central revenue,” said Patel.
The IPL has become a major event in the international cricket calendar since it began in 2008, attracting the world’s top players and large domestic audiences. But it has also been hit by a series of financial scandals, and its founder Lalit Modi was sacked in 2010 following allegations of corruption, indiscipline and money-laundering.