The controversy surrounding the Indian Premier League (IPL) just gets murkier and murkier. Pune Warriors have become the latest franchise to be terminated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Pune were thrown out of the tournament for refusing to furnish a bank guarantee of over Rs. 170 crore, which would have allowed them participation in the 2014 season. While we cannot get into the financial matters of the issue, it cannot be denied that a lot is seriously wrong with the tournament. After all, Pune are not the first team to have been terminated.
With Pune terminated, the question will obviously be raised – why has no action been taken against the other controversial sides? Not surprisingly, Sahara boss Subrata Roy, who is the owner of Pune Warriors, has also raised the same query. If the rule book has been applied in Pune’s case, why hasn’t the same been done when it comes to Chennai Super Kings (CSK)? It is no secret that Gurunath Meiyappan, once the Team Principal of CSK, has been embroiled in the betting web. Still, nothing has happened to either him for CSK. Is it because he is the son-in-law of BCCI big boss N. Srinivasan? The question has been asked numerous times.
Also, what about Rajasthan Royals? Players from their side have been banned for spot-fixing, and there have been allegations of betting against the owners as well. Although nothing has been proved against the owners yet, the development has been another blot on the tournament nonetheless. If no action at all has been taken against these two franchises, Chennai in particular, who have clearly gone against the rules, the harsh action against Pune seems rather unfair in the given context. With Sahara deciding to pull out of Team India sponsorship as well at the end of their contract, things could get dicey for BCCI.
If Pune were the first team to have been terminated from the IPL due to certain issues, one could still understand the development. But, the fact is that is not the case. Before Pune, another franchise, Deccan Chargers were terminated for the same reason – last year they were relieved from the tournament for failing to produce a bank guarantee of Rs. 100 crore within the stipulated time limit. Earlier, Kochi Tuskers Kerala were also asked to leave the IPL for a breach of contract – they also failed to furnish a new bank guarantee for 2011.
Now, when three franchises have been terminated in three consecutive years for similar reasons, isn’t it a clear indication that something is wrong with the functioning of tournament itself? When the BCCI has been aware that there are losing teams each year over the failure to furnish bank guarantees, they should ideally look deep within and try to find a solution to the impasse. Funny as it may sound, if the IPL continues to lose one team per year, eight seasons later the tournament will have no teams left.
--By A Cricket Analyst