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Payment ‘googly’ has Sunrisers, HCA in a tangle

V.V. Subrahmanyam
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The new franchisee in the Indian Premier League, Sunrisers, is facing an old problem in terms of compensatory payment towards in-stadia advertisement rights.

It may be recalled here that Visaka Group paid Rs. 6.5 crore to Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) for the construction of Rajiv Gandhi Stadium when no sponsors were willing to come forward then.

Agreement

In return, it signed an agreement with Hyderabad Cricket Association in 2004 getting in-stadia advertisement rights and other benefits from all official matches hosted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

However, when it was signed, there was no IPL. According to the rules of Indian Premier League, the Hyderabad Cricket Association has to hand over a clean stadium (without any hoardings) to the organisers.

And, last year though the previous franchisee promised to pay Rs. 75 lakh sought as compensation for hosting the four Indian Premier League matches at Uppal stadium, subsequently it was Hyderabad Cricket Association which ended up paying the amount. “Till now, the Hyderabad Cricket Association has already paid Rs. 1.50 crore in this regard,” a senior official said.

In a quandary

Now the Hyderabad Cricket Association is in a quandary whether or not the Visaka group will again insist on double the payment since eight matches are scheduled in the city this time. Interestingly, the whole issue is already before an arbitration panel which is yet to take a final call.

In a related development, the last executive committee meeting unanimously resolved in the presence of Hyderabad Cricket Association president G. Vinod (brother of G. Vivekanand, MP and owner of Visaka Group) not to make any payment this time around. However, Mr. Vinod advised the members to take up the issue with Mr. Vivekanand, who did not attend that particular meeting.

What is worrying both the Sunrisers and the Hyderabad Cricket Association is that if the issue drags on, the same scenario will continue like the last two years when money had to be paid as it was felt then that the cricket-loving public should not be denied the IPL matches.

There is also an indication that if the stalemate is not resolved in the next couple of days, Hyderabad Cricket Association might ask Sunrisers to look at Vizag and Cuttack as the alternative venues for hosting this year’s IPL matches. The IPL Governing Council was also briefed on this issue by the Hyderabad Cricket Association.

New IPL franchisee on a sticky wicket with regard to compensatory payment towards in-stadia advertisement rights


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