Decision follows BCCI move to encash Sahara's bank guarantee

The reputation of the Indian Premier League suffered another dent on Tuesday when Pune Warriors India withdrew from the league over financial differences with the BCCI.

PWI had failed to pay the full franchise fee for the current year. With the Board encashing the bank guarantee, the Sahara group, which owns the franchise, decided to pull out of the league, which was rocked recently by the spot-fixing scandal.

PWI, one of the nine IPL teams, is learnt to have paid only 20 per cent of the franchise fee for the year.

The franchise fee of Rs. 170 crore was to be paid by May 19 and the Board moved when Sahara failed to meet the deadline.

This was the third case of the Board encashing the bank guarantee for recovering its dues. It had earlier done so with Kochi Tuskers and Nimbus.

Not fair

In a statement, Sahara said the Board had not been fair.

“In 2010 Sahara had bid 1702 crore for IPL franchise on the basis of revenue calculation on 94 matches,” said Sahara.

“It was tricky on part of the BCCI to put the number in media as 94 matches for getting a bigger amount.

“But we got 64 matches only. We and Kochi Team immediately protested and requested BCCI to reduce the bid price proportionately for viable IPL proposition. Nothing was heard.

“We waited with confidence that such a sports body should have sportsman spirit.

“We continuously requested BCCI for Arbitration from June 2011.

“But BCCI is only concerned about money and not about the genuine interests of the franchise,” said Sahara.

The Board, claimed Sahara, had gone back on its word. “We had announced our withdrawal in February 2012 but the BCCI approached us for a solution and requested us to not withdraw.”

Sahara asserted it had been playing the full franchise fee of Rs. 170.20 crore annually in the hope that the problem would be resolved soon.

“But unfortunately, it was not done. Despite legal advice of exiting IPL at the start of the season itself, we went ahead with the season, so that the IPL season does not get affected,” said Sahara.

Peeved with the Board, Sahara said it would rethink its decision to sponsor the Indian team.

“There is a very strong urge to withdraw from the Indian cricket team sponsorship from today. But, interests of the players will suffer.

“We have given time to BCCI to get the new sponsorship from January 2014.

“We will continue the national team’s sponsorship up to December 2013, the expiry date of the present agreement.”