Ready to walk extra mile, but rules can't be bent: BCCI

Sahara Group Chairman Subrata Roy on the day he announced their parting ways with the BCCI

Chennai, Feb 13 (IANS)Indian cricket board president N.Srinivasan Monday said the board was ready to walk an extra mile to address the issues raised by Sahara India on the sponsorship deal but made it clear that exceptions cannot be made by bending rules in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Srinivasan said the working committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) discussed the concerns raised by Sahara India, who earlier this month severed its multi-million-dollar sponsorship deal with the BCCI and also pulled out as the owners of IPL franchise Pune Warriors.

Sahara cited that it was denied natural justice and the last straw was the BCCI's refusal to allow Yuvraj Singh's price to be added to Pune Warriors' auction purse after the southpaw was ruled out of the tournament with a lung tumour.

Srinivasan said Pune Warriors could have a replacement for Yuvraj as per IPL rules. He, however, made it clear that the BCCI was against changing rules for the benefit a particular franchise owner.

"Sahara had raised several issues with regard to the number of matches played last year. Issues were also there surrounding the quantum of bank guarantee and also with their composition of team. The BCCI responded positively within the framework of its rules. It is not possible to create an exception because observing the regulations strictly is important to the integrity of the league (IPL)," he said.

Srinivasan said the BCCI was ready to address the issues raised by Sahara as a sponsor and would not prevent Sahara from bringing a partner on board to run Pune Warriors.

"We are open to address the issues raised by Sahara in the sponsorship deal. We also don't have objections if Sahara brings a commercial partner to join Pune Warriors as a co-owner," he said.

Sahara's grouse is that the BCCI did not show the respect a commercial partner should be shown by ignoring some of their genuine concerns with regard to the Pune Warriors.

Sahara signed a fresh sponsorship contract with the BCCI July 1, 2010, and it runs till Dec 31, 2013. According to the Rs.532-crore contract, Sahara will pay Rs.3.34 crore per Test match, one-day international and Twenty20 international under the new terms.

Sahara bought the IPL franchise Pune Warriors for Rs.1,702 crore, making it the most expensive franchise in the Twenty20 league. In all, the BCCI stands to lose around Rs.2,234 crore.

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