Mumbai:The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday terminated the contracts of Rajasthan Royals and King's XI Punjab IPL teams due to allegations of irregularities in ownership structure. As a result of this the two teams will be barred from participating in the IPL 4 next year.
BCCI president Shashank Manohar said that the agreements were cancelled for violation of franchise agreement.
"As I always said, right from day 1, with regard to Rajasthan team, the bid was given by a different bidder, agreement was entered into a different company, the share holding patterns were different. The shares were transferred thereafter to different people without the permission of the Governing Council," Manohar added. (Read: Modi has nothing to do with decisions: Manohar)
Manohar denied when asked if the decision was taken after Rajasthan and Kings XI were considered to have proxy stakes. "It is because of the legal inputs we have got and after looking into the fact and the breaches committed by the two franchises, we decided to cancel it," he said.
And though Manohar does not admit to it publicly but reports suggest that Modi's alleged proxy stakes are amongst the reasons. Here's how the dots connect up in the Rajasthan team - His sister-in law is married to Suresh Chellaram, the majority stake holder of the team.
The initial bid for Rajasthan Royals - partly owned by actor Shilpa Shetty and her businessman husband Raj Kundra - was made by an entity called Emerging Media. However, by the time the agreement was signed it had metamorphosed into Jaipur IPL Cricket Pvt Ltd.
Similarly the bid for Kings XI was made by a loose group including actor Preity Zinta, businessmen Ness Wadia and Mohit Burman, among others. But the IPL agreement for Kings XI's participation was signed with K.P.H. Dream Cricket Pvt Ltd.
The show cause notices to the owners of both teams cite the specific clauses of the agreement the teams have contravened, and even charge Rajasthan Royals with furnishing false information.
They also note that the agreement gives the BCCI every right to terminate their membership of the IPL, if there is any change in their ownership pattern.
Modi, however, has called Board's decision "detrimental to IPL". "IPL Fabric damaged without a thought to consequences," he said.
The fanchises are obviously furious and Rajasthan has threatened to take legal action against the BCCI. Talking exclusively to NDTV, Rajasthan Royals' co-owner Raj Kundra said that it was a sad development and "the termination of the contract by BCCI is shocking." (Read: Royals camp stunned by BCCI decision)
He further said that there are heavy investments involved in the franchise and they will now fight a legal battle.
Rajasthan Royals co-owner Shilpa Shetty wrote on her Twitter account: "Honestly too shocked to react, just disheartened..cause it's more than just a team 4 us."
Royal Challengers Bangalore owner Vijay Mallya openly slammed BCCI's decision. "This is down right ridiculous and raises serious questions on the attitude of the BCCI towards IPL franchisees," Mallya wrote on Shetty's twitter page.
"I wonder if IPL franchisees are serious stakeholders whose investments and participation are respected or are they slaves who only come and play?" Mallya tweeted.
The Board has also issued a notice to the Kochi franchise and given them 10 more days to settle their disputes as they have not breached any agreement.
"It was further unanimously decided to issue a notice to the unincorporated joint venture holding the Kochi franchise calling upon them to resolve all their disputes and form a company which will hold the IPL franchise rights," BCCI said in a statement.
A huge cloud of uncertainty hangs over IPL 4 with many unanswered questions: What happens to the player auction that was to take place next month, what happens to the format of the tournament if Kochi is also ousted 10 days later, but most importantly, will IPL 4 even take place since the two ousted franchises have threatened a long legal battle with the BCCI.
Manohar, however, has showed confidence in the multi-million dollar T20 league and said that brand IPL will not suffer due to these developments.