Pawar questions BCCI's action against IMG

Sharad Pawar on Tuesday questioned the board's action against IMG, the event management company that had organised the two seasons of the IPL.

updated: September 01, 2009 16:41 IST
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New Delhi:

Former BCCI President Sharad Pawar on Tuesday questioned the board's action against IMG, the event management company that had organised the two seasons of the IPL.

According to a report by a leading cricket website, in a letter to Board President Shashank Manohar, Pawar has warned that the unilateral move would put the board and its stakeholders' investments in jeopardy.

"I am very disturbed to hear about the termination of IMG contract by the honorary secretary, BCCI. Reading the contents of the termination, I feel that this unilateral move by the BCCI will put the BCCI in jeopardy. Not only will this lead to a prolonged legal battle but it will also show us in bad light in public," Pawar, who takes over as the ICC President next year, said in his letter.

It must be noted that N Srinivasan, BCCI Secretary, had terminated the contract with the International Management Group, stating it was charging too-much from the Indian board.

The Board secretary stated in his letter to IMG that the BCCI Working Committee did not approve of the terms he had negotiated with IMG's senior vice-president Andrew Wildblood by which IMG was paid Rs 42.92 crore for services rendered in the first edition of IPL in 2008.

Srinivasan had also said in his letter to Wildblood that while the negotiations were pending, IMG's services were utilised when this year's IPL was moved out of India to South Africa because of General Elections.

The BCCI secretary said the Working Committee felt that the amount asked by the sports management firm was "disproportionate", following which further negotiations took place in London among Srinivasan, BCCI President Shashank Manohar and Wildblood in June.

Pawar, however, said the contract with the event management company was approved at all "appropriate levels" during his tenure as the board president. The former BCCI chief felt, the board's stand on this will harm Indian cricket.

"I always believed that the Board believes in continuity, and undoing what was done consciously and in the best interests of Indian cricket is neither desirable nor appropriate," Pawar said.

"After season one of the IPL and its tremendous success, the IPL revenues went up beyond our expectations and as a result the payout to IMG was going to be quite large. We all had at that time agreed to renegotiate the contract with IMG as a result of this tremendous success. Mr Srinivasan along with (the) IPL chairman (Lalit Modi) was entrusted with the task of doing the same. They successfully concluded their negotiations and the same was tabled by the honorary secretary in the finance committee and whose minutes were thereby approved by the working committee on the 3rd of January 2009.

"I am told that this matter was again raised at the last Governing Council meeting of the IPL and some members again suggested that we should come to a suitable arrangement with IMG. Further I understand issues regarding IPL were also being raised at the last working committee of the BCCI and you rightly told the members that the working committee was not the right forum for the same and such they should raise the same at the next AGM.

"In IPL there are many stakeholders and as such anything we do that may jeopardize their investments will show BCCI in a bad light. With the overwhelming success of the IPL it is our duty to protect not only BCCI but also its stakeholders. I got some calls and letters from stakeholders. I am attaching a letter which I received from Shri Mukesh Ambani. I want to bring on record my views and I hope you and the BCCI will take the right decision in the overall interest of BCCI."

IPL team owners on Monday had written to the board seeking explanation on the termination of the contract with the IMG.

The IMG also said that the Board had not provided "any grounds for such termination," and "there are no such grounds".

(With agency inputs)