New Delhi: Sahara India Pariwar has squarely blamed BCCI president N. Srinivasan for the breakdown in the relationship between the two entities, saying the latter’s ego was the main reason why its sponsorship bid was deemed ineligible.
The conglomerate, which had a long association with Indian cricket, has been at loggerheads with the Board of late, pulling its team Pune Warriors out of the IPL while also ending its sponsorship of the national team.
The rejection of its latest sponsorship bid, which went in favour of STAR India Private Limited, was another bitter pill to swallow.
Star owns cricket universe
Sahara says BCCI bowing to Srinvasan’s whims
“It looks like that BCCI is a promoter-led private company which is working according to the whims and fancies of one individual. It is very unfortunate that because of one man, the sport of cricket in India has to suffer,” Abhijit Sarkar, director, Sahara Adventure Sports Ltd, told MAIL TODAY. He said under Srinivasan, the functioning of the Board had taken a turn for the worse.
“Our past experience with the BCCI was of a Board keen to work and collaborate in the interests of the development of the game. Today, the title sponsorship has been given for Rs 1.92 crore per match when our bid was Rs 2.35 crore per match. This amounts to a loss of around Rs 50 crore to the BCCI, just because of the false ego of an individual.”
Sarkar also raised objections on the way the tender process was conducted. “It is very apparent to naked eye that BCCI had foul intentions and was making a mockery of the entire bidding process,” he said.
According to Sarkar’s version of events, after the two bids were submitted, the BCCI asked both bidders to go out of the room.
Later, only Sahara was asked to come inside and the Board said it was ineligible because of its current dispute with BCCI regarding the Pune franchise owned by Sahara Adventure Sports.
“Representing Sahara, I told BCCI that the bidding company (Sahara India Financial Corporation Ltd) is in no dispute with BCCI and has always paid towards all sponsorship obligations. BCCI then said the ITT has a clause which can bar even a ‘group company from bidding if any other group company is in dispute with BCCI,” Sarkar said.
“Srinivasan said: ‘I can also speak about a lot of things that Sahara has said about us in the last few months’. Even when the IPL dispute was going on, we had made regular payments for the sponsorship. We have never defaulted on payments. BCCI had been accepting all payments from SIFCL and our logo was present on the team jersey even today. Why all this while BCCI didn’t find us ineligible as a sponsor?”
Sarkar claimed that it was only due to the insistence of several past and present cricketers that Sahara re-entered the bidding process after the acrimonious break-up earlier this year.
“From the time we first announced our disassociation with the BCCI, a number of cricketers had requested us to continue with the sponsorship, stating that they had donned Sahara’s logo for years and wanted to retire with the same logo on their chests."
"In the past couple of days, there were also calls from some senior members of the BCCI to Saharasri [Subrata Roy, chairman of the group]. All of them requested him to continue with the sponsorship of Indian cricket team. Considering their insistence, we had decided to bid,” he said.
Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.