The cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) will be without two of its most popular teams, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, in its fourth season.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has terminated the franchises and thrown out the two teams for allegedly breaching ownership regulations.
The two teams were participants in the first three years of the tournament, with Rajasthan Royals winning it in the first edition, in 2008. Shane Warne, the captain of Rajasthan Royals, is reported to be “shattered” by the news.
Currently, a new team Kochi are also in the midst of an ownership dispute; the BCCI has asked the Kochi squad to resolve their disputes. The BCCI has asked the Kochi team to form a joint venture company that would hold the IPL franchise rights. Apart from Kochi, Pune are another new team due to take part in the fourth edition of the IPL.
Every year, leading cricketers from around the world take part in an auction for recruitment to IPL teams. Australian pace bowlers Brett Lee, Indian star Yuvraj Singh and Sri Lankans Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara are among the top players in the Kings XI Punjab squad that the franchisees bought for $76 mn in 2008.
BCCI president Shashank Manohar stated in an announcement to the effect that after seeking legal counsel on the matter, the Indian board had decided to terminate the leases of the two teams.
BCCI is said to have discovered the ownership irregularities in respect of Rajasthan royals and Kings XI Punjab squads in the course of investigations into financial irregularities alleged to have been committed by Lalit Modi. The investigatons began after the removal of the former IPL commissioner consequent to allegations of corruption against him.
Modi was removed in July and the committee was set up thereafter to investigate the alleged fnancial irregularities.
Modi himself has denied the charges and communicated his opinion on Twitter. Modi has stated that the BCCI’s actions are vindictive and likely to hurt the game.
Raj Kundra, one of the owners of Rajasthan Royals is said to be contemplating legal action against the BCCI. According to Kundra, BCCI’s actions had put the future of the tournament in jeopardy, and expected that the fourth edition of the IPl itself might not take place because of what he felt was BCCI’s disregard shown to competing teams.
The IPL has established itself as the world’s biggest and most lucrative cricket tournament, since it began in 2008.
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An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.