PepsiCo Threat Pullout Makes Indian Premier League Bosses Sit Up
PepsiCo had signed a five-year deal with Indian Premier League in 2013. The Cola giants had replaced DLF as main tournament sponsors but allegations of corruption tarnished the image of the tournament.
In what could be a major blow to the Indian Premier League in 2016, Cola giants PepsiCo want to get out of the IPL title sponsorship and has sent a notice to the BCCI. The decision was taken as the spot-fixing case had brought the game into "disrepute". (IPL Scandal: Gurunath Meiyappan Lost 60 Lakhs in Bets)
According to an Indian Express Report, PepsiCo informed IPL's Chief Operating Officer Sundar Raman about the decision to withdraw and Raman informed Shashank Manohar, the newly elected BCCI president, about the development. (IPL Scandal: Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals Suspended)
PepsiCo and BCCI released a joint statement which read, "BCCI and PepsiCo have had a longstanding cordial relationship and have been in discussions to work out a solution which addresses PepsiCo's concerns. Both parties will share it when ready."
According to a BCCI source, he said, "They have shown a willingness to move out of the deal from this season because of their own interests and not because of disrepute and stuff. So they may not continue as the main sponsor. Because they have the deal with them so we are not bothering them. We have a bank guarantee with us and hence can confiscate it, but we are not doing it. Whosoever will get the rights, we will help get him that guarantee, get it transferred from Pepsi."
However, IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said the Pepsi pullout is no big deal.
"We are in talks with other sponsors as well, so the title deal with Pepsi is not that big an issue. They have certain points and we are going to settle them amicably in the next meeting. They have been a very good partner all this while and we do not want to disturb our relationship with them. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen in a very smooth manner," Shukla said.
PepsiCo became title sponsors of the IPL in 2013 after they bid a whopping Rs. 396.8 crore rupees for five seasons. Prior to Pepsi, DLF had paid Rs 200 crore to become title sponsors of the tournament from 2008 till 2012.
However, Pepsi's period as the title sponsor has witnessed a turbulent time. In the 2013 season of the IPL, Ankeet Chavan, Ajit Chandila and Sreesanth were arrested over charges of spot-fixing. This resulted in accusations that Gurunath Meiyappan, Chennai Super Kings team principle and Raj Kundra, co-owner of Rajasthan Royals, were involved in betting.
The BCCI banned the three cricketers for life and the Supreme Court appointed the Justice Mudgal committee to investigate the spot-fixing scandal. The Supreme Court appointed the Justice RM Lodha panel and the quantum of punishment was decided, with CSK and Rajasthan Royals being banned from the tournament for two years with Meiyappan and Kundra banned for life.
At that time, an internal executive of Pepsi spoke to the Economic Times and said that the company was not planning to rebid for the title sponsorship. "Title sponsorship is a direct association with the brand image, which directly risks getting impacted by controversy," the executive had said.
BCCI To Hold Working Committee Meeting on October 18
The BCCI has decided to convene the working committee meeting on October 18 in Mumbai. According to a report in the Hindustan Times, the meeting is being convened to clear the way for the Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was to have been held in September.
The AGM was acutually slated to be held on September 26 but it could not be held as the BCCI's petition seeking clarity on N. Srinivasan was not heard by the Supreme Court.
Manohar has a big task ahead as he assumes the presidency of the BCCI for the second time. The prominent theme of this meeting will be the four-member working group's report on the roadmap for conducting the IPL in 2016. In the August meeting, the IPL Governing Council had recommended having two new teams for the next two editions of the league in order to maintain an eight-team field.