Besides being the biggest, most glamorous, and cash-rich T20 tournament in the world, the Indian Premier League has also been mired in a number of controversies.
On the day the league starts its 10th edition, here’s listing the five biggest controversies the IPL has been embroiled in:
1. Lalit Modi Sacked
The league was his brainchild but IPL also became the reason Lalit Modi had to flee the country and live in exile in London.
IPL's own self-crowned czar/boss/don Lalit Modi was accused (and found guilty) of colossal financial wrongdoing. He was subsequently suspended, sacked and exiled after the 2009 IPL.
He was accused of rigging bidding deals, bribery, being involved in betting and money laundering.
2. Spot-Fixing Scandal
The darkest chapter of the IPL is certainly the spot-fixing controversy in 2013. Players and team officials were jailed, the league’s and BCCI’s governance practices were exposed to scrutiny and four years later, the BCCI is still dealing with the fallout.
Three Rajasthan Royals players Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila were in the forefront of the scandal.
BCCI imposed life bans on Sreesanth and Chavan in September 2013 and Ajit Chandila was banned for life in January 2016.
3. Conflict of Interest
By allowing BCCI officials to own teams, the IPL set in motion a chain of events that caused a tsunami of sorts, leading to the dismantling of the BCCI. It was the IPL that brought 'conflict of interest' (COI) to the centre stage in the national discourse.
To put it in simple cricketing terms, a person’s love for multiple roles could lead to him being a player who also became an umpire and the official who appoints the umpire.
Letting officials own IPL teams meant that the team owner, the BCCI official and the IPL governing council member could all be the same person: the one making a case, the one admitting a case and the one who passed eventual judgement on it.
N Srinivasan was the owner of the Chennai Super Kings and the president of BCCI at the same time.
4. IPL Moved to South Africa in 2009
The move to shift the IPL to South Africa in 2009 infuriated the government. The competition was moved due to security reasons.
In turn, the government ordered a serious crackdown involving court cases, tax enquiries investigations and raids. Files relating to the 2009 affair are still floating around various arms of the government, waiting to be brought into play whenever convenient.
Earlier this month, Deloitte’s audit report exposed financial irregularities in BCCI’s affiliate associations. The Supreme Court ordered Deloitte to look into BCCI’s financial books in 2015. It was a decision made under their ‘project transformation’ in 2015.
5. Too Many IPL Teams Terminated
High mortality rate of franchise teams caused uncertainty and upheaval. Teams came and went, others were suspended and terminated.
Hyderabad, Kochi, Pune have all been on the wrong side of the IPL, as have champions Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals, resulting in litigation and arbitration –none which survived scrutiny in court.
Deccan Chargers (Hyderabad) was terminated for breaching contract terms. Kochi Tuskers and Pune Warriors failed to pay franchise fee and were terminated in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were suspended for two years after being involved in the 2013 spot-fixing scandal.
The IPL, quick on the trigger, has often ended up shooting itself in the foot. In ten years the IPL is yet to open its account when it comes to getting any favourable verdict from the court.
The IPL journey has seen occasional patches of clear skies, but lots of turbulence and rough weather. Think of the IPL as a flight where the seatbelt sign is never switched off.
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