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IMG denies planning rebel T20 league in England

May 08, 2010 16:20 IST

Event management company IMG on Saturday denied charges that it was involved in planning a 'rebel' Twenty20 league in England in conjunction with suspended Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi, who was sent a show cause notice on this count by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

A statement from the events management group, which was involved in running the IPL in the first three seasons, said in its 50-year existence it had always respected the authority and sovereignty of official sports federations.

The response came in the wake of news reports quoting Giles Clarke, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), that IMG had been involved in planning an unsanctioned Twenty20 cricket league with a number of ECB member-counties.

"IMG has a 50-year record of integrity and probity in the business of sport and at all times IMG respects the authority and sovereignty of official federations and governing bodies," the statement said.

"IMG has not been involved in any plans of the kind suggested in the quotes attributed to Mr Clarke. Representatives of certain ECB member-counties requested a meeting with Mr Lalit Modi through IMG. An informal lunch meeting subsequently took place on 31st March 2010 in Delhi and was attended by IMG executives," it said.

"The matters discussed at the lunch included a general conversation about the challenges currently facing English cricket and a theoretical discussion about the possible modelling and commercial potential of an English Twenty20 cricket competition," IMG's statement said.

"As a matter of formality it was stated by IMG, and acknowledged by all present prior to this theoretical discussion, that the sovereignty and processes of the ECB must at all times be respected as must the relevant rules of all other official cricket bodies, including the ICC," it said.

"Any suggestion otherwise is baseless, untrue and defamatory. IMG has been involved in no subsequent discussions regarding any of the matters discussed at this meeting."

In his e-mail to the BCCI, Clarke said Modi's plan was "detrimental to Indian cricket, English cricket and world cricket at large".

The BCCI, which has accused Modi of irregularities in running the IPL, including bid-rigging, slapped a second show cause notice alleging he had negotiated for a parallel Twenty20 League in England without the knowledge of the ECB and the BCCI during his meeting with the English counties' representatives in March.

The BCCI, too, feels that any such plan would shake "the very foundation of the way cricket is administered and played across the world".

Meanwhile, there is a strong indication that the BCCI would summon IMG officials for a meeting which is likely to be scheduled on May 17.

"The Board president [Shashank Manohar] was thinking on those lines," BCCI sources said.

It was also learnt that Modi has submitted most of the relevant documents related to IPL in his custody to the BCCI.

Manohar, at his media conference after the IPL Governing Council meeting on April 26, had said BCCI chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Ratnakar Shetty had been entrusted with the task of collecting all IPL documents that were not in the Board's office.

"Many of the records are missing. The I-T Department is asking for documents. We don't have them. We have asked BCCI CAO Ratnakar Shetty to look into the missing records and papers," Manohar had said at the conference. 

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