Former Australian Test batsman and NDTV expert Dean Jones said on Wednesday that Pune Warriors "wanted some love" from the Board of Control for Cricket in India and predicts the issues pertaining to their pull-out from the Indian Premier League will be resolved. On Tuesday, Pune Warriors, owned by Sahara Adventures Sports Limited, pulled out of IPL and announced (Full statement) that they will not renew their sponsorship of the Indian cricket team. This was because their demands for reduced franchise fees was not accepted by the BCCI.
The franchise fee has been a bone of contention for some time. In 2010, Sahara had bid Rs.1,700 crore for the new franchise for a period of 10 years. The bid was made on the basis of revenue that could be generated from 94 matches per season that had been originally planned. This was reduced to 64 matches that year, following which Pune Warriors and the short-lived Kochi franchise asked BCCI to reduce the bid price proportionately to make it a more viable proposition for them. Discussions ended in a stalemate, following which Sahara announced its withdrawal from the league in 2012. The two parties then agreed to arrive at a solution and started an arbitration process. However, the question of the franchise fee remained unresolved.
Jones says that there may be two ways of looking at the matter. "Devils advocate can say Pune went ahead and bought stocks for 370 million dollars and unfortunately that stock has gone down because other franchises have bought stocks for a 160 million. Some would say it's a bad investment, others would say that's how the cookie crumbles," explained Jones, using stocks as an example to explain the ownership costs.
"They are upset because they are paying 37 million dollars a year while Hyderabad is only paying 16 million. There is a huge difference. They (Sahara) are looking for a little bit of love, there's no doubt about it," he added.
Sahara on Tuesday said BCCI had been 'unsporting.' This, after BCCI encashed a bank guarantee following Pune Warriors failure to pay their full franchise fee for 2013. In January this year, Sahara paid around 20% of the year's franchise fee, which is approximately Rs.170 crore. According to reports, the BCCI was told that they will pay the remaining amount by May 19, but they failed. The IPL governing council then decided to encash the bank guarantee.
This is not the first time that BCCI has encashed bank guarantees after franchises failed to cough up fees. Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Deccan Chargers were disbanded after they failed to pay the required fees.