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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Will challenge BCCI over termination of IPL media rights: WSG

Will challenge BCCI over termination of IPL media rights: WSG

June 30, 2010 23:16 IST

Defending the Rs 425-crore facilitation fee it demanded from Sony, former global media rights holders for IPL, WSG, on Wednesday said it will do whatever it can to ensure that BCCI honours its previous agreements.

A day after the cricket board scrapped all media rights for the IPL, World Sports Group (WSG), in a letter to the board said that the reasons cited by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for terminating their contract were on "unsupported and unsubstantiated allegations".

"Rest assured that we will take whatever steps are necessary in whatever part of the world, to ensure that agreements with our business are honoured and complied with and our good name and reputation preserved," WSG Chairman and CEO Seamus O'Brien said in the letter to BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan.

On Tuesday, BCCI had scrapped all of its IPL media rights agreements with Mauritius-based World Sport Group, claiming that MSM Satellite (Singapore) Pvt Ltd was the rightful owner of all media rights relating to the Twenty20 event.

The BCCI has invalidated all its deals with WSG after revelations that the latter received $80 million (Rs 425 crore) as a "facilitation fee" from MSM for getting the media rights for IPL in the Indian sub-continent in March, 2009.

"There is nothing unusual or improper about the payments agreed to be made by Sony to WSG pursuant to the facilitation deed. These monies never due or owing to the BCCI," O'Brien said, adding that BCCI's claim that the money belonged to it was baseless.

The deals with WSG were scrapped by BCCI after MSM had last week agreed to pay it Rs 300 crore, plus the remaining amount of Rs 125 crore, which it has already paid to WSG, after initiating legal action against the Mauritius firm.

The move came after the BCCI's Governing Council meeting approved an amended Media Rights Agreement with MSM, which had agreed to pay a Rs 425 crore "facilitation fee" to WSG on March 25, but the board later contended that the money rightfully belonged to it.

In his letter to Srinivasan, O'Brien alleged that the termination of contract was to "serve the interest of an internal agenda".

"The fact that you have now sought to use us as a pawn in this game is extremely disappointing and something we can no longer sit by and allow you to do," he said.

Earlier reports had alleged that suspended IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi had taken kickbags while signing the media rights deal, besides indulging in other irregularities.

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