Nagpur:The group that owns the Kochi Indian Premier League (IPL) team has been given one last chance to work out internal differences.
The consortium has been served a termination notice by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), but at the same time, the group has been given 30 days to respond to this notice - and that is the lifeline that the team-owners were desperate for.
The group that won the Kochi bid in March this year, paying 333 million dollars (over Rs 1500 crore) for the team, has recently seen a divide over equity and control of the franchise. This, according to the BCCI, meant that the structure of the team's ownership was not clear.
BCCI EXPLAINS DECISION
Explaining the decision, BCCI President Shashank Manohar said after a meeting of the IPL governing council in Nagpur today, that the decision to serve the termination notice because of infighting was unanimous. The BCCI held that the Kochi team violated rules. (WATCH)
When asked why two other teams - Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab - were not given this 30-month window before they were sacked for violating their contracts, Manohar said that "the Kochi case was not like the other teams." He said the board was obliged to give Kochi time since they had made some remedial errors, unlike the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab.
Those two teams were ousted earlier this month due to several violations of their contract with the BCCI. Rajasthan Royals' court plea challenging that termination is being heard today in the Bombay High Court.
THE KOCHI DISPUTE
The Kochi consortium has seen a very public dispute between the faction headed by Vipul Shah, a Mumbai-based real estate developer and the Gaikwad family, which owns Rendezvous Sports World, the single-largest entity of the consortium, over control of the team. The franchise avoided the axe today after the Vipul Shah faction agreed to resolve issues with the Gaikwad faction.
A late-night letter by one of the factions clarifying the ownership pattern is believed to have prevented the team's sacking.
Today's decision gives the Kochi consortium, consisting of six investors and 13 individuals, some more time to resolve their internal differences. The CEO of the Kochi group Satyajit Gaikwad said they had asked for 10 days and got 30. "We are very grateful for the extension...and we hope to tie up at the earliest," said Gaikwad to NDTV.
Of the divide within the franchise, he said, "We are in talks with them ...they are friends...there is no disgruntlement at the highest level." However, he made it clear that he was not willing to surrender his role as the party that would control the franchise.
Another point of contention is that the Gaikwads were given 25% free equity for their efforts in putting together the consortium and winning the bid that followed. The faction led by Shah has been asking for that sweat equity to be reduced to 10%. Now, the Shah faction has sent a letter saying it's okay with 12.5% free equity for the Gaikwads. (Read: No stake in Kochi Team, Gavaskar tells NDTV)