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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Kochi IPL fighting a losing battle

Kochi IPL fighting a losing battle

October 28, 2010 09:01 IST

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) might have given Kochi IPL team a fresh lease of life by giving them a 30-day deadline to resolve all their problems, but it seems the consortium is a fighting a losing battle.

According to sources, it seems the Board has also given up hopes and has started to make a back-up plan, which includes inviting fresh bids for a new franchise.

Many of the members in the Indian Premier League Governing Council also believe that the dispute between the two groups in Kochi franchise over ownership does not look like ending soon with no party ready to bow an inch.

The IPL Governing Council, after an emergency meeting to discuss the issue, served a 30-day termination notice to the franchise to sort out its differences failing which it would stand cancelled.

Even BCCI president Shashank Manohar's statement after the meeting makes things very clear.

"The Governing Council received replies from two parties, the Rendezvous group and the other co-owners, and they both felt that the dispute still exists," Manohar said after the meeting.

The Rendezvous World Sports Group, owned by the Gaekwad brothers including Satyajit, Ravi, Kisan and their parents hold 25 percent free equity in the franchise, which was offered to them for their role in getting the consortium together and the successful bid for the franchise at Rs. 1300 crore.

But the other investors which include Anchor Earth, Parinee Developers, Film Wave and Rosy Blue are objecting to the free equity holding by Rendezvous and want it cut down. This has resulted in the friction between the two groups and both are not willing take a step back.

However, realizing the seriousness of the situation and with time running out, the Gaekwad brothers tried to appease the other partners by offering to buy 12.5 percent of their shares.

Satyajit Gaekwad, CEO of Rendezvous Group, said they are ready to buy half of the free equity received by them and had already informed the Board about the same.

But they have hit a roadblock again. The Gaekwads are finding it difficult to raise the money needed to buy 12.5 percent of the equity and procuring loans is also proving to be impossible.

While the BCCI's terms and conditions warn against borrowing money in the form of loans, they also cannot bring in more partners in the already destabilized venture.

The other partners are also unhappy with the Gaekwad brothers taking over the operations of the IPL team and a few of them were fuming after they were kept in the dark over the approach to former India opener Sunil Gavaskar.

Kochi, after being served the first notice, claimed that it had roped in Gavaskar in an advisory capacity but the former Indian skipper denied accepting the offer and said he would take decision only after the franchise had resolved its disputes.

The BCCI has acted sensibly by taking the legal approach and has issued a 30-day termination notice as per the provisions of the original contract that was signed with the franchise in March.

But even they know it is just an exercise in futility with the two warring groups not keen on getting things sorted out.

There are also reports that the two IMG officials, who were present in Nagpur and met the BCCI president Manohar after the Governing Council meeting, were called to discuss the possibility of bidding process for a new franchise.

The BCCI is adamant that the next year's IPL will feature eight teams irrespective of whatever happens with the Kochi franchise.

The Kochi owners' infighting has certainly delayed BCCI's plans with the players' auction scheduled for November pushed back to January. But it is clear that the Board's patience will end soon and in a month's time the consortium may be shown the exit door if things stay the same.

Harish Kotian