Double blow for BCCI, Sahara walks out of sponsorship deal, Pune Warriors

Bangalore/Mumbai, Feb 4 (IANS) Indian cricket suffered a twin blow Saturday when Sahara India snapped its multi-million-dollar sponsorship deal with the country's apex body of the sport and also pulled out of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Pune Warriors, claiming they have been 'denied natural justice yet again'.

Sahara's decision came hours before the IPL 2012 auction in Bangalore and there was no one from Pune Warriors team at the bidding.

Sahara had won the bid to continue as the Indian team sponsor in May 2010 and its sponsorship deal with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is worth at least $719,000 per match and was to last till Dec 31, 2013. Sahara bid $370 million to own the Pune franchise in 2010.

Trouble was brewing between the two parties since 2008 and Sahara says the last straw was the form of BCCI's denial to add Yuvraj Singh's price to Pune Warriors auction purse after the southpaw was ruled out of the tournament with a lung tumour.

Sahara India chief Subroto Roy told the media in Mumbai that the board's 'one-sided and arbitrary attitude' drove the corporate to end all their cricket activities in despair.

Defending Sahara's decision to end its 11-year-old relationship with the BCCI, Roy said: 'Our decision was not bad at all, we had enough of it. Any relationship does not break on one single issue. In a long relationship, it will always be over many issues and they have happened continuously.'

Roy said Sahara's problems with the BCCI started in 2008 when their bid for one of the first eight IPL franchises was disqualified 'owing to a small technicality'.

'There were so many genuine things we had but it (BCCI) did not give a heed to even a small thing like opening the bid. They did not open the bid (when Sahara had submitted for the first time). Rules were broken for other teams, but we were not given natural justice,' said Roy.

Roy also said that Sahara even requested the BCCI to settle all the issues through arbitration and had also proposed the name of an eminent lawyer as an arbitrator, but the board didn't respond.

Roy also said Sahara India paid 25 percent extra when it bought the Pune franchise in 2010 for $370 million. When the two new franchises were up for sale, they were promised 94 matches but the 2011 edition had only 74 matches.

Roy said Sahara has asked the BCCI to look for a new buyer for Pune Warriors at the earliest.

The Sahara chief also said his group would continue sponsoring the cricket team for two-four months till a new sponsor was found.

BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale said the board would meet Sahara officials soon to clarify its stand on the issues the corporate raised.

'We understand that Sahara Adventure Sports Limited has issued a statement in which it indicates an intention to withdraw from its involvement in Indian cricket, including as regards the Indian Premier League (IPL). We intend to contact Sahara Adventure Sports Limited as soon as practicable to clarify its intentions,' Jagdale said in a statement.

On the confusion surrounding Yuvraj, Jagdale said: 'During the last few days, Sahara Adventure Sports Limited has requested that IPL vary its Player Regulations by allowing it to increase its Auction Purse from $1.6 million to $3.4 million in the light of Yuvraj's unfortunate illness.'

'Whilst all within the IPL and BCCI have a huge amount of sympathy for Yuvraj Singh and wish him all the best for a speedy recovery, it is unable to vary the Player Regulations,' Jagdale said.

IPL chairman and commissioner Rajeev Shukla, also a senior member of the BCCI, said it was extremely unfortunate that Sahara decided to snap its ties with the board on the day of the IPL auction.

'It's unfortunate but we have not received any formal notice. But the show will go on. The marketing committee will take a decision. Dialogue will always continue,' Shukla told reporters during the break after the first phase of auction in Bangalore.

IPL chief executive Sundar Raman said Sahara wanted flexibility in the rules, which the league management could not accept.

'It would have been unfair on our part to accept their demands. It would be unfair to other franchises if we bend rules for one team,' he said.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders

Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders

Abu Dhabi: Kolkata captain Gautam Gambhir elects to bat in the season-opener of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Bench refuses to grant access to recordings of Srini and Dhoni’s depositions before Mudgal committee. More »

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

A fractured little finger could now throw the Delhi Daredevils captain out of action at the start of this season. More »