Sharad Pawar, former BCCI President, engaged the senior officials of the BCCI at a brainstorming session on Tuesday evening and brought an end to the predicament surrounding the commission-linked services of International Management Group (IMG) and specifically with the matter relating to the termination of IMG’s association with the Indian Premier League (IPL).
On Wednesday at the IPL Governing Council meeting, BCCI President Shashank Manohar was given the responsibility of initiating another round of discussion with IMG and to negotiate a commission that would be acceptable to both parties.
“Mr. Pawar’s letter to Mr. Manohar expressing his disappointment at BCCI’s decision to terminate the services of IMG was not even discussed at today’s meeting,” said a BCCI insider.
On August 28, the BCCI Secretary N. Srinivasan shot off a letter terminating IMG’s services to the IPL because the BCCI Working Committee had not approved the fee agreed upon between Mr. Andrew Wildblood, Senior Vice-President, IMG and the BCCI Secretary.
The IMG was paid Rs. 42.92 crore for the IPL I. The BCCI has estimated a payment of Rs. 37 crore for IPL II after the two parties had determined a sum of Rs. 33 crore.
Mr. Srinivasan also told the IMG that the BCCI’s Working Committee felt that the sum agreed upon was “disproportionate to the services rendered”. “You were asked to submit a fresh proposal before the next Working Committee of the Board which you failed to furnish. Therefore please note that the BCCI has taken a decision not to use IMG’s services anymore for the IPL tournament.”
Immediately, the IMG replied saying that “On 13th September 2007, the BCCI and IMG signed an agreement which is expressly stated to be “legally binding” for a term of ten seasons and provides for a commission based system of remuneration.” Mr. Wildblood has also recalled several meetings that took place between the IMG and BCCI officials in London, Bangkok and Mumbai and also his acceptance of the annual sum (Mr. Srinivasan proposed) for a fixed fee basis of remuneration in December 2008.
“Your letter appears to be an attempt to terminate our contract. You have not provided grounds for such termination and the fact is there is no such grounds (refusing to enter into further renegotiations as regards our remuneration is not a breach of our contract). I hope that the clarifications in this letter will lead you to reconsider your position and in the meantime we reserve all of our rights and remedies under law in respect of the contract,” said Mr. Wildblood.
Mr. Pawar who came into the picture upon receiving a letter expressing disappointment from Mukesh Ambani, owner of Mumbai Indians, wrote a letter saying: “I am very disturbed to hear about the termination of the 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. When I was the Board President we had signed a 10-year agreement with the IMG.”
“In IPL there are many stakeholders and as such anything we do that may jeopardise their investments will show BCCI in a bad light. With the overwhelming success of the IPL it is our duty to protect not only the BCCI but also its stakeholders. I got some calls and letters from stakeholders. 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 the BCCI,” said Mr. Pawar in a communication to Mr. Manohar.
The BCCI would revive talks with the IMG and may even find a solution, but what must be stressed is that Mr. Srnivasan decided to send the termination letter to IMG only at the behest of the sentiments expressed by the BCCI Working Committee. Moreover he would not have done so without getting the express approval from Mr. Manohar.