Deccan Chargers have slapped a legal notice on the Indian Premier League and threatened to skip the third edition of the Twenty20 league, beginning next month, if its home matches are not re-allotted to Hyderabad and Vishakapatnam.
In the notice, sent to Board of Control for Cricket in India president Shashank Manohar, Deccan Chargers' solicitors have asked the cash-awash league's authorities to reconsider their decision of relocating the home matches of the defending champions.
The notice claimed that the decision to shift the matches have been taken "arbitrarily, unilaterally, without our client's consent and in complete breach of the Franchise Agreement dated April 10, 2008 pursuant to which the rights and obligations of both the parties i.e. BCCI-IPL and the Franchisee, i.e. our client are governed".
The notice further charged the IPL that the decision to shift the matches is against the objective of having franchisees from various regions of the country and against public interest and consequently was not acceptable to Deccan Chargers.
"Your action is also contrary to the spirit of the game, the objective of the League Matches and the concept of having franchisees from different regions and also against public interest," the notice said.
"Please, therefore, note that this arbitrary and unilateral decision revising the schedule i.e shifting of the venues of the matches from Hyderabad/Vizag is not acceptable to our client," it said.
Citing relevant portions of the Agreement between Deccan Chargers and IPL, the legal notice mentioned that "stadium" shall mean the venue at which the team shall play its home matches and which, on signature of the Agreement is Rajeev Gandhi International Stadium, in Hyderabad.
The notice further stated that clause 2 of the Agreement "records the rights granted to the Franchisees which specifically contemplates staging of home league matches at the stadium. It further contemplates that the Franchisee team shall be the only team in the league whose stadium is located in the territory during a period of not less than the first three seasons".
The notice also pointed out that clause 2 of the Agreement "provides for the specific central rights granted to the Franchisee at the Stadium" and clause 6 "provides for obligations of the Franchises which contemplates staging of home league matches only at the Stadium".
Pointing out that in the inaugural season (2008) all the home matches of Deccan Chargers were held in Hyderabad which could not be repeated in season 2 as the League was shifted to South Africa because of General Elections, it noted that the franchisee had agreed to shift the opening match (against Kolkata Knight Riders) in the upcoming edition as a special case "pursuant to your request".
"This consent was given on the basis that the remaining four matches were to be played at Hyderabad and two matches to be played at Vizag. Our client is therefore surprised to receive the aforesaid e-mail dated February 13, 2010 notifying the revised schedule whereby no matches are to be played at Hyderabad/Vizag and all the matches are to be played in the State of Maharashtra."
Reiterating that "this arbitrary and unilateral decision taken by you for shifting of the venues is in the grave breach of the Agreement and not binding on our client," the legal notice said that there was "absolutely no justification" for shifting of the matches.
Stating that as far as holding matches in Hyderabad and Vizag all the concerned, the authorities have given permission as required, the notice also pointed out that even the Telangana Joint Action Committee has written a letter agreeing "to extend whole-hearted support to IPL III".
As compared to this, the notice questioned, how without any assurance from the Shiv Sena, which has threatened to disrupt matches involving teams with Australian players in the wake of the racial attacks on Indian students Down Under, Deccan Chargers team can play their ties in Mumbai without fear.
Pointing out that the threat of Shiv Sena will adversely affect the performance of the Deccan Chargers team, which includes Australian players, if they are compelled to play in Mumbai, the notice also raised the issue of the franchisee suffering severe financial losses due to the venue shift.
"Our client states that it has made all the arrangements at exorbitant cost for playing the matches at Hyderabad as per the original schedule, and if the venue is now shifted, it will cause heavy financial losses to our client," the Chargers said.
Asking the IPL authorities to reconsider their decision failing which, the notice said, "our client will have no option but to seek legal recourse" and "will be justified in withdrawing from IPL Season-III without prejudice to all their other rights and remedies," the notice stated.