Sahara open on IPL but not sponsorship

If Sahara sticks to its guns and executes its threat to pull out Pune Warriors, the BCCI would be in a big mess.

New Delhi (Mail Today): Two days after Sahara India pulled out as sponsor of the national team and threatened to withdraw its Pune Warriors team form the IPL, neither the business conglomerate nor the Indian cricket board seemed in a hurry to resolve the crisis.

Crucially, there have been no across-the-table talks so far between the top brasses of the Board of Control for Cricket in India ( BCCI) and Sahara, except the odd phone conversation and e-mails exchanged between them. IPL governing council chairman Rajeev Shukla said the BCCI doesn’t want to decide in “haste”. Sources close to BCCI president N Srinivasan said the IPL management has sent a message to Sahara, outlining the Board’s line of thinking on the issue of the Pune Warriors’ likely pullout from the fifth edition of the Twenty20 tournament beginning on April 4.

"IPL has sent a message to Sahara saying that the BCCI is open to talk the issues out. If the parties have to reach a decision they’ll have to sit across the table and talk. Rajeev Shukla is already on the job,” the source told MAIL TODAY, confirming that there’s been no face-to-face talk.

Srinivasan didn’t commit anything, and merely pointed to the “perceptional differences”. “I’m open to dialogue and the BCCI is open to dialogue."

"We recognise there were grievances on their part but there was no reason to break suddenly,” Srinivasan told a TV channel. “It’s been an up and down relationship, but when we meet I hope most of the issues will be resolved. There’s an opportunity to sit across the table."

"All issues will be discussed but it’ll be premature to speak about them.” BCCI said that Sahara wanted its auction purse be increased from $1.6 million to $3.4 million, which includes the $1.8 million buying price of Yuvraj Singh who’s ailing from cancer and has been ruled out of the IPL- V.

If Sahara sticks to its guns and executes its threat to pull out Pune Warriors, the BCCI would be in a big mess. In that case, it’ll have to alter its IPL schedule, which was released exactly a month ago.

Sahara chief Subrata Roy on Monday, however, wanted the Pune team to compete but stuck to his decision to withdraw as a sponsor. “We can’t come back from the Rs 1,000 crore social work (projects)."

"I’ll see that my players play this season. It’ll be decided by Sourav (Ganguly) and the coaches,” he said.

Sources in the BCCI were keeping their fingers crossed. “Unlike in previous editions, we worked extra hard this time and allotted all the tenders well in advance. The opening ceremony tender has been allotted to Wizcraft for about Rs 15 crore, a two-day workshop for IPL franchise owners was held, and even the schedule was chalked out earlier than previous years,” said a source.

“But all that can go down the drain after Sahara’s threat to pullout.”

Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2012. MTNPL. All rights reserved.

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