New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) Former Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Lalit Modi alleged Tuesday that the 2009 players' auction was "rigged" to benefit the Chennai Super Kings franchise owned by India Cements, which is headed by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president N. Srinivasan.
Modi, whose brainchild the IPL was, said the rules were bent to allow former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff remain with the Super Kings. He also accepted his fault of not going against the changes which favoured selected teams.
"The Flintoff auction was rigged. All players were supposed to go back to the auction after the first three years but that did not happen. I was arm-twisted into allowing Flintoff to stay with the Chennai team," said Modi, who was suspended by the BCCI after the 2010 edition and since then he has been living in London.
Four marquee players of each franchise were allowed to be retained after the end of the third edition in 2010. Modi said the retention clause was not his idea.
"The retention clause was not my idea. I had created a level playing field," he said.
Modi said the current rules favour "some powerful BCCI members" who hold a stake in the IPL teams.
"The rules have been changed to favour some powerful BCCI members. If you tweak the model along the way it is going to fail. There is no level playing field in the IPL today. There is a lack of transparency now. Many wanted to be part of the game after it became a success," he said.
Modi claimed that he wanted Pakistani cricketers to play in the IPL after the first edition but all franchises "were told not to bid for them in the auction". No Pakistani played has featured in the IPL since the 2008 edition.
Sahara open on IPL but not on Team India sponsorship
Commenting on Sahara India ending its sponsorship deal with BCCI and withdrawing from the IPL, Modi said that current model will not work as it favours a few teams and not the players.
"This model will not work. You have to keep the players in mind. There are things being done by the BCCI that in the long run will hurt Indian cricket."
Modi had earlier tweeted: "Sahara termination - shows how unhappy the major sponsor and franchise owner is with the way BCCI deals with its partners. This is really a sad day. Sahara has been sports biggest supporter and pillar."