Kochi:The investors behind the IPL's Kochi franchise have decided to pull out of the venture and have informed the BCCI of this, ESPNcricinfo has learnt.
Their decision comes three days before the expiry of the board's deadline to the franchise to sort out its differences and - barring another twist in a long-running saga - could mean a final and irrevocable expulsion from the league.
A letter of withdrawal was sent on Wednesday to Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, it is understood.
It leaves the IPL free to decide on how to fill the hole in the tournament - most likely by issuing a new tender inviting bids for the replacement team. This will be done on November 28, at the next governing council meeting in Mumbai.
The investors in the consortium - Anchor Earth, Parinee Developers, Rosy Blue and Film Wave -hold 74 per cent of the equity. The remaining 26% has been given to the Gaikwad family - Shailendra, his brother Ravi and their parents plus a few others, all part of Rendezvous Sports World - as free equity for services rendered in successfully bidding for the franchise.
The two groups have been split down the middle over ownership issues almost since the franchise's inception, a situation that severely undermined its credibility in the IPL's eyes.
The league's governing council, at its emergency meeting on October 27, felt Kochi was far from resolving those issues and issued a notice asking both factions to explain why the franchise should not be scrapped.
Satyajit Gaikwad, the CEO of Rendezvous, said at the time that the notice period was enough to build bridges with the investors, led by the Anchor group's Mehul Shah. That no longer seems to be the case.
An indication that the end was in sight came from the Twitter feed of Shashi Tharoor, the MP and former minister who had been closely identified with the consortium when it won the bid for the Kochi franchise.
"That dream is over for now," he tweeted on Wednesday. "Those who didn't want a Kerala IPL team have finally succeeded. Some of us have paid a high price for trying."