Coming down heavily on the Indian cricket board (BCCI), Sahara India supremo Subrata Roy said that if the IPL rule book was followed in terminating the contract of Sahara-owned Pune Warriors, why wasn’t it invoked while dealing with Gurunath Meiyappan after he was accused of being part of the betting scandal. BCCI recently terminated Pune’s contract over non-payment of a bank guarantee of Rs 170 crore.
“If the chief of any institution can create and allow such bad example like that of Gurunath, how can a body function independently? Had Gurunath been an owner or principal of some other team, what would have happened to that team?” Roy asked while referring to BCCI president N Srinivasanwhose son-in-law is Meiyappan.
“After this example, BCCI has lost the right to take action against anyone. Their whims and fancies are more important to them than anything else. God bless BCCI,” Roy said. He added that his group won’t be continuing with sponsoring the Indian team after the contract ends on December 31, 2013.
“They have false egos and high-handedness and the Board will realize how big a financial loss it’s suffering after Sahara pulls out of team sponsorship. I don’t think any corporate would be interested to pay so much money to cricket at a time when there is so much of ego in the cricket bosses,” Roy said, taking a dig primarily at Srinivasan. He also made the point that his company didn’t have any issues with the Board when Srinivasan’s predecessor Shashank Manohar was at the helm of the BCCI.
Currently, Sahara pays around Rs 3.34 crore for every Test, ODI and T20 match that India play. The Sahara boss said that he was waiting for the BCCI and IPL bodies to come to the table to figure out a resolution. “If they would have sat across the table, we would have continued with the Indian team sponsorship.” Since that didn’t happen, Roy declared that the bank guarantee amount would now be used for social work.
“Sahara will put Rs 170 crore immediately to a stipend foundation. From this fund, Rs 1 lakh will be paid to around 2,000 poor but meritorious students from across the country. Out of which, a minimum 25 % shall be reserved for the poor students who are doing well in cricket. We will earmark Rs 1000 crore for other social activities and adoption of house and villages in the country. We will also put 10 eminent sports personalities to track the sports talents,” Roy informed.
Asked about his reaction when he first heard about the termination of the Pune team, Roy said: “I felt betrayed. Before this year’s IPL, when he asked BCCI to settle the payment issue, which had happened due to a reduction in the number of IPL matches (94 to 74), we were told that the matter will be sorted out.
“But the moment, this season was over, BCCI tactically encashed our bank guarantee. Throughout, they kept harping on the bank guarantee without showing any intention of settling the matter. Even if BCCI wants to rope in another team, it’s unlikely that anybody would be shelling out an amount, which would match even our reduced franchisee fee.”
What if Sahara would have paid the bank guarantee and avoided the termination? “Non submission of bank guarantee is being quoted as a reason for termination because BCCI has to follow the rule book and put up a facade of being legally correct. We wanted to pay the bank guarantee, it is just that we have been insisting at a correct figure of the franchise fee which we would have paid along with the bank guarantee. But the Board was adamant that we continue to pay Rs 170 crore a year and wait for arbitration to settle the final amount.