A day after Sahara's shocking decision to pull out as sponsor of the Indian cricket team and owner of the IPL franchise Pune Warriors, the BCCI is making efforts to pacify the corporate giant and retain its financial backing.
Sahara, sponsor of the Indian team for over 11 years, decided to part ways with the BCCI on Saturday, complaining that the Board did not give due consideration to its genuine grievances with regard to players and number of matches in the IPL.
Sahara had signed a renewed sponsorship agreement with the BCCI on July 1, 2010 till December 31, 2013 and was paying Rs. 3.34 crore per Test match, One-Day International and Twenty20 international under the new terms. The deal is said to be worth Rs. 532 crore.
Sahara entered the IPL bandwagon last year by buying Pune Warriors for Rs. 1702 crore, making it the costliest franchise in the Twenty20 event.
The BCCI stands to lose Rs. 2234 crore if Sahara sticks to its stand. However, the Board can find another sponsor to neutralise the losses.
Taken aback by the sudden pullout, the BCCI, which struggled to find long-term team sponsors in the past, is keen to hold on to the company.
“We are very confident that the Pune Warriors will participate in the IPL and the matter would be resolved. They have not given anything to us in writing about the pullout,” a top IPL source told PTI.
Interestingly, the IPL authorities had gone ahead with the players auction without the Pune team representatives in Bangalore.
In case the Pune Warriors actually decide to stay off, the IPL authorities would be left to deal with a very tricky situation.
The options at hand include, reducing the event to eight teams and selling Pune Warriors to a new owner but with the IPL scheduled to start on April 4, it would be a race against time to get things in order.
The fate of Pune Warriors players also remains uncertain and in case they don't get a new franchise they may not be able to play at all.