Decks cleared for Jaipur’s IPL tryst

Court orders RCA & state govt to sign MoU over stadium

Rajasthan Royals fans can breathe easy. The stage is set for all the team’s eight home matches of IPL- VI to be held in Jaipur.

The Rajasthan High Court on Friday directed the state’s cricket association (RCA) and the state government to sign a Memorandum of Understanding by February 11, so that IPL matches are held in the Pink City’s Sawai Man Singh Stadium, citing “ public interest”. The court directed the RCA to pay ` 20 lakh per match through post- dated cheques.

Owing to a dispute between the RCA and the state sports council over payments for the use of the stadium, the matches were to get shifted to Ahmedabad and Rajkot in Gujarat. The RCA failed to acquire an MoU by February 6, the deadline set by the Indian cricket Board (BCCI).



The division bench of Justice NK Jain and Justice Meena V Gomber ordered to this effect in response to a PIL filed by one Vinod Singhal.

While issuing show cause notices to the RCA, the state sports department and sports council on Thursday, the bench had observed: “ The amount which the RCA is spending on unwanted lit- igation could best have been used to resolve the financial disputes regarding payment of dues to the sports council. IPL is in great public interest and it cannot be allowed to be affected owing to disputes. Public want to see matches in the stadium and we cannot be a spectator of the disputes if we see public interest in it.” Earlier, the court had directed the petitioner to ask the chief secretary to look into the matter. Chief Secretary CK Mathew, on his part, called a meeting and passed an order on Monday asking the RCA to pay ` 1 crore up front as a deposit.

The government also demanded that ` 50 lakh per IPL match be paid and wanted the RCA to pay ` 29 crore in arrears.

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Mathew also wrote to the BCCI president N Srinivasan iterating that the state would provide all necessary facilities and support in holding the matches at the SMS stadium and also in other cities.

“ The state government is committed to make the stadium available for national and international matches and to provide all necessary support for the forthcoming IPL matches,” Mathew said in the letter dated February 2. The letter followed a telephonic conversation that Mathew had with Srinivasan, assuring the BCCI of all possible support.

However, as the counsel for the RCA RN Mathur contended in the court on Thursday, the income from such matches was low. The bench asked the general secretary and treasurer of the association to appear before the court on Friday with the bank statement and income– expenditure record of the IPL matches of the past three years. Accordingly, they presented the documents on Friday that led to the court’s order.

After the court order, RCA general secretary KK Sharma said that the association would comply with it.

The genesis of the problem, according to observers, lay in the tug of war between the RCA president, Union minister CP Joshi, and sports council chief Shiv Charan Mali, who is known to be close to chief minister Ashok Gehlot.

The court’s latest decision would leave no role for the council in the IPL matches as the MoU will be signed by the government.

Mathew is already on record to assert that the stadium was the property of the government and not the sports council.

The two sides have been fighting over payments related to the use of SMS Stadium, but High Court says hosting IPL is in ‘ public interest’

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