Pune Warriors India, owned by Sahara India Pariwar, pulled out of the already scandal-hit Indian Premier League (IPL) Tuesday and announced that they will not renew their sponsorship of the Indian cricket team after the present contract expires in December 2013.
The decision comes after the Lucknow-based firm's demand to bring down the franchise fee was not agreed upon by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Sahara failed to pay the full franchise fee of the Warriors for the current year which resulted in BCCI encashing the bank guarantee -- and this further led to the Pune-based franchise pulling out.
"It is firm and final decision of Sahara to withdraw from IPL," said a Sahara Statement.
This is the second time that Sahara have pulled the plug. The first time it happened was in 2012 owing to similar reasons but they bridged their differences with BCCI and returned to the fold.
Sahara bought the franchise for Rs.1,702 crore in 2011 for 10 years, making Pune Warriors the costliest team in the IPL.
Sahara have now said that they will not return to IPL "even if the entire fee was waived".
The group also said it was tempted to withdraw from the Indian cricket team's sponsorship but refrained in the interest of the players.
Pune Warriors India finished eighth in the sixth season of the IPL, winning four of the 16 matches played.