The Indian Badminton League has hit a legal roadblock after its commercial partners Sporty Solutionz went to court trying to protect its Intellectual Property Rights. The IBL started in 2013 but ran into trouble due to various issues. The second edition of the league has been scheduled for January next year.(Sahara India Retain Lucknow Franchise)
Having severed its relationship with its commercial partners, next year's IBL will be hosted by the national federation - Badminton Association of India. Unhappy Sporty Solutionz has now gone to Delhi High Court against BAI.(All the Latest Badminton Updates)
"We on behalf of our clients, M/s Sporty Solutionz Pvt Ltd have applied for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights of our clients. We have invested heavily to build the brand IBL. This is also associated with our goodwill.
"We have pleaded in the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi to restrict any other party from using the name, logo, title or any Intellectual Property associated with Brand Indian Badminton League or IBL," said the Sporty Solutionz Counsel Sanjeev Kumar in a statement.
"BAI has the experience of holding much bigger events such as Thomas and Uber Cup, Super Series event and World Championship and so we decided to do it on our own from this year to ensure the longevity of the tournament. We will be back with a bang next year," BAI president Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta said on Thursday.
The IBL had its share of delays with the first auctions going through multiple postponements from June 30, 2013 to July 19, 2013 to finally being conducted on July 22.
Similarly, the second edition was initially scheduled from September-October 2014 and then postponed to January-February 2015, before finally scheduling it in first fortnight of January.
Permanent annual fixture
"We have a one month window from December 17 to January 18 every year and we want to make it a permanent event without any gap or delay and for that it is important that BAI hosts the event on its own," Dr Das Gupta explained.
The league, which could not be conducted in last two years, will retain its six franchises format represented by the Indian cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Lucknow with talks on to replace Pune with Chennai.
"We want to go with one state one team this time. Last time we had Mumbai and Pune from Maharashtra which is not advisable. So we are looking at Chennai as a venue this year," Dr Das Gupta said.
"The franchises will also have to give a bank guarantee to ensure the interest of the players," he added.
A Bollywood Boost
Just like the first edition, players will be auctioned with fresh contracts being issued by BAI. However, IBL 2 will also have a few new franchises with many Bollywood celebrities set to join the IBL bandwagon.
"We will have a Bollywood celebrity as brand ambassador of IBL, besides most franchises are trying to involve Bollywood celebrities in their team by giving them stakes in the franchise," Dr Das Gupta said.
The second edition will witness enormous cash windfall with a hike in the overall prize money of the event and also substantial increase in the purse available for each franchise to bag their choicest players during the auction which is likely to be held in November.
Why coaches worried
The scheduling of the league is another major worry for players and the coaches.
The IBL season 2 takes place in January next year, which is right in the middle of a crucial rest period for the players.
An injury during this time might jeopardise India's Olympic medal hopes. Former player and coach of the national team Pullela Gopichand reckons the timing of the tournament will be the biggest challenge that organisers will have to face.
"Ideally as a coach I would want six months of training and six months of tournament and that's how things were earlier but now things have changed."
According to Saina Nehwal's coach Vimal Kumar injury management will be the key. The former national champion said, "If that (injury) happens, we need to take a call, if the injury is persisting then pulling out of IBL is the call we need to take."
(With inputs fromÂ PTI and Yash Chawla)