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The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket) loses in court against 2 IPL teams




The BCCI (the cricket board of India) considers itself all powerful, and with its commercial success and huge monetary balances, it also has a lot of powerful political patronage (after all, the all powerful Union Minister Sharad Pawar is in charge of the cricket body). And, goaded by competition from Subash Chandra’s ICL, the BCCI set up its own version of the T20 championship, the IPL. The IPL was stewarded by Lalit Modi, and he set it up as an incredible money making machine, earning huge money for the BCCI. Of course, when somebody makes such a successful machine, they also tend to get corrupted themselves, and so Lalit Modi allegedly has his own stake in the various transactions done as part of the BCCI (such as the various companies used for advertising and media deals), and also in multiple teams that take part in the IPL.
When finally things came to a head, in the debate over setting up a new IPL team, there was a conflict in interest between Shashi Tharoor and Lalit Modi, and an open confrontation between them took the scalp of Shashi Tharoor; and when a minister goes, there are consequences; one of the most important consequences was that it was also time for Lalit Modi to go. And so, many of his offences were detailed out, and he was railroaded out (even though the Board was equally culpable for the various acts and omissions). As a part of investigations, the Board also wanted to go against teams where Lalit Modi was involved in some ways (lot of speculation that Lalit Modi had interests in the Rajasthan and Chandigarh teams !), and so, it was speculated that the board would take some action against these teams.

But, when the board action came, it was swift and drastic. Calling out various violations of the contract in terms of changes of ownership and other similar charges, the Board announced that both these teams were out of the IPL and that was it. The various folks in charge of these teams (with some high profile owners such as Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty) raised a huge din and promised all sorts of legal action. The BCCI, of course, in its high heaven, did not care that anybody could actually call its action illegal, and refused to even discuss anything. One of the key problems that the owners of these teams called out was the lack of any discussion of the BCCI with these owners, any chance to clarify matters.
So, finally the challenge was made in terms of legal action, and the result is a grave shock to the BCCI. It is rare for the BCCI to face such setbacks, and twin setbacks were even worse. The court stayed both actions of the BCCI, calling them taken without giving the parties a chance, and there does not seem too many chances that the Supreme Court will overturn the decision of the High Courts. Now, the BCCI is faced with the concept that the teams it tried to evict are still there, and it has added new teams to the IPL, making the shared money lesser for each team, and added to the logistical challenges. Further, the flamboyant deal maker is no longer part of the IPL, thus ensuring that there will be question marks over the upcoming version of the IPL.




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