The uncertainty surrounding Sahara's participation in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and its sponsorship of the national cricket team remained unresolved after the conclusion of the BCCI's Working Committee meeting here on Monday.
Board president N. Srinivasan, who spoke to the press, refused to disclose the specifics of Sahara's demands.
He said the matters arising from Sunday's meeting between BCCI members and Sahara chairman Subrata Roy in Mumbai were discussed and the Working Committee's response was communicated to the corporate giant — while the Board had responded “positively”, there was no question of making an “exception” for Pune Warriors, the IPL's costliest franchise.
Srinivasan said he hoped for a “favourable response” from Sahara. “I believe this is a matter that must be discussed in private between Sahara and the BCCI,” he said.
“These contractual matters are not issues which can be discussed in the public glare. One of it [the issues] was with regards to the number of matches played last year, there were issues surrounding the quantum of the bank guarantee given by Sahara to the BCCI, and of course what they have already mentioned in public about the composition of the team in the context of the non-availability of certain players.
“The BCCI has responded positively within the framework of its rules and the BCCI has also said that it is not possible to create an exception because observance of the regulations strictly is important to the integrity of the league.”
Not an issue
Asked if the IPL was willing to allow Pune Warriors a replacement for Yuvraj Singh, who is recovering from a malignant tumour, Srinivasan said: “I am told, as per the rules, Sahara can have a replacement for Yuvraj. That is not an issue.”
Sahara had wanted Yuvraj's $1.8 million salary to be added to its auction purse, but the request was turned down, which was one of the reasons for the company's pull-out. Srinivasan didn't specifically address this point.
On Sahara's withdrawal of its sponsorship, Srinivasan admitted there was a problem, but added it wasn't a concern.
“We have said we will walk that extra mile to see how we can assuage the feelings of the sponsor, but I don't think one has to be concerned that there will be no sponsor. Sponsors are not going away. I don't think it is fair to say the BCCI is losing money. For the properties that we have, we have adequate sponsors now.”
In another development from the Working Committee meeting, the BCCI rejected the proposals of the Woolf report pertaining to the restructuring of the ICC.
The independent review, headed by Lord Woolf, had proposed reforming the ICC's executive board, the organisation's top decision-making body. It had recommended bringing in independent directors to counterbalance the numerical strength of the Full Members.
It also suggested that an ICC director should not simultaneously hold a leadership or executive post with his home board. Srinivasan, currently both an ICC director and BCCI president, said the Working Committee was not agreeable to the main recommendations of the report.
Asked if the BCCI would consider a review of its own, to investigate the cause of India's eight straight Test defeats abroad, Srinivasan said, “I think it's premature to talk of an enquiry — there's no need for any enquiry if you ask me. Let the team come back. Then probably the selectors, the coach, and the others will evaluate what needs to be done further to improve performance if it is considered necessary.”
Other decisions taken by the Working Committee included increasing the frequency of the ‘A' team and under-19 tours of Australia, South Africa, England, and West Indies, the setting up of a state-of-the-art cricket academy in Bangalore, and staging the Ranji Trophy league in neutral venues.