BCCI to take decision on Kochi franchise today

Saini Sa'aB

The Kochi franchise just about made the cut in replying to the BCCI's showcause notice but the whether or not it would enable them a place in the next IPL season will be decided today.

The BCCI is expected to take a decision on the newly-formed team's fate in the fourth edition of the high-profile league.

If the BCCI rejects the request, it means the team would meet the same fate as the Rajasthan Royals and the Kings XI Punjab. The board would expel the Kochi franchise on grounds of irregular ownership patterns.

However, if the BCCI does agree to Team Kochi's extension request, then the two factions would have to form a joint venture company. This means the BCCI would agree to a change in the ownership holdings of the franchise.

Kochi IPL franchise had been given ten days to sort out its problems. On Wednesday, it submitted its letter to the BCCI.

The legal team of the Cricket Board has been entrusted with the task of studying the letter which has been forwarded to Board president Shashank Manohar.

"Today was the last day given to the the Kochi franchise for responding to the notice given to them. They held a few meetings in the last two-three days and submitted a letter which has been sent to the president (Shashank Manohar)," said BCCI's Chief Administrative Officer, Prof. Ratnakar Shetty here.

Without revealing the contents of the letter submitted by the franchise, whose partners have been squabbling over the nitty gritties of forming a joint venture company as per the norms and regulations stipulated by IPL, Shetty said the Board would take a call on the letter's content after its legal department studied it.

"The president will study it, our legal team will study it before taking a decision," he said, adding that the Board, at present, has not thought about calling a meeting of the IPL Governing Council.

The various partners forming the consortium that successfully bid for the franchise, have had a series of meetings here to form the joint venture company that will hold the franchise rights for the cash-awash Twenty20 League.

According to sources, the meetings were inconclusive in sorting out the differences between the two factions fighting for control of the franchise.

The crux of the dispute is who will run the affairs of the franchise, bought from the Cricket Board for a staggering USD 333 million, once the JV was formed.

The investors include corporate firms Anchor Earth, Parinee Developers, Rosy Blue and Film Wave - who hold 75 per cent of the equity.

The remaining 25 per cent has been given to the family of Gaekwads - Shailendra, his brother Ravi and their parents plus a few others - as free equity for services rendered in successfully bidding for the franchise, the sources said.

"The majority share holders wanted the minority to invest 10 per cent and get 15 per cent as (free) equity without giving up control over running the company, while the other parties to the dispute wanted either the CEO post or the cricketing affairs to be vested with them," according to the sources.

Earlier this month the BCCI, owning the IPL, had issued a notice to the newly-inducted Kochi team asking the partners to resolve all their internal disputes within 10 days.

It was decided to issue a notice to the unincorporated joint venture holding the Kochi franchise calling upon them "to resolve all their disputes and form a company which will hold the IPL franchise rights," the Board said after the IPL Governing Council meeting here on October 10.

At the same meeting the Board decided to scrap the IPL franchise agreements of Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab for alleged breach of terms and conditions of the agreements.

A top BCCI source said that in case the Kochi franchise too is scrapped a fresh bid would be put in place by the Board for replacing it before IPL4 to be held in April-May, 2011.

"The IPL would be run with (at least) eight teams," the source added. (With PTI Inputs)