MUMBAI: As the Indian Premier League‘s (IPL) 13th edition struggles to find its feet in the middle of a pandemic and sweats at the loss of a sponsor that, until last week, guaranteed the second highest revenue stream from central pool, its stakeholders are running short on time to start looking at the ‘new picture’.
Caught in a tug-of-war with the BCCI and the IPL GC over the proposed SOPs, and anticipating compensations for this season that the board describes as ‘unwarranted’, the franchises met on Wednesday evening – via a teleconference – to revisit their options.
One franchise wants reimbursements for gate money; another wants BCCI to compensate for value erosion in the wake of Vivo India’s exit or find replacement(s) at the earliest; a third one wants quarantine rules relaxed for a set of players who will be flying from the Caribbean after the CPL final on September 10; a fourth one wants similar relaxations for players arriving from England after their white-ball series with Australia. The list of demands and the potential they see for haggling is endless right now.
The board and the members of the IPL GC, meanwhile, are locked in a separate war-room as this proverbial ‘battle of attrition’ continues. Keen on following the “right processes”, the BCCI wants to float an Expression of Interest (EOI) to look for Vivo’s replacement.
“BCCI hasn’t yet fully closed the chapter on Vivo’s exit for this year. They’re still working out the finalities and are probably close to it,” sources said.
The franchises want the board to avoid floating an EOI – a relatively time-consuming process – and instead find a replacement for Vivo by negotiating “across the table”.
“It’ll save a lot of time,” they say. “And time is of essence here because teams need to get together, fly to UAE, go into quarantine, understand how the different bio-secure bubbles will work, start practice and while all this is happening, franchises will need time to activate brands”.
As one team owner put it, “A Catch-22 scenario is building up and there are no immediate answers. “The BCCI is waiting for franchises to revert on the SOPs too. The IPL GC had distributed the SOP draft to team managements in the hope they would find most recommendations commonly acceptable.
“And that is not happening. The BCCI has always had the final say in all IPL matters. So, what it must do now is take on the leadership mantle and draw a line for everybody involved. If the BCCI doesn’t find wisdom in compensations, franchises have got to live with it. If the IPL GC says SOP will mean ‘sanitise when you sit down, sanitise when you stand up’, then that’s got to be the case,” sources said.