BCCI moves HC against arbitrator’s stay to Royals’ termination

Mumbai: The Cricket Board on Thursday moved the Bombay High Court against the arbitrator’s stay to the termination of contract with IPL franchisee Rajasthan Royals by it.

The High Court will fix a date of hearing of BCCI’s appeal tomorrow.

Justice BN Srikrishna, who was appointed as arbitrator with the consent of both the parties, on November 30 stayed the termination saying that prima facie it was ‘illegal’.

Meanwhile, in an other development, Kings XI Punjab on Thursday alleged before the High Court that the BCCI “deliberately” kept silent on arbitrator Justice Srikrishna’s disclosure that he might have to pull out of arbitration.

The BCCI terminated franchisee contract with Kings XI too and this dispute has also landed in the High Court as Justice Srikrishna yesterday recused himself from arbitration.

The former Supreme Court judge disclosed that he had once represented (as a lawyer) Bombay Dyeing, whose owner Ness Wadia has a stake in Kings XI. Following which, BCCI said that it had some “reservations”, and Srikrishna decided to pull out of the proceedings.

But on Thursday, Kings XI lawyer and senior counsel Darius Khambata alleged that Justice Srikrishna had disclosed this fact on November 23, during arbitration proceedings between BCCI and Rajasthan Royals, but BCCI did not take exception to his acting as arbitrator in Kings XI dispute until yesterday.

“BCCI kept silent deliberately... They strung us along for one week as the deadline for negotiating with ‘marquee players’ is to expire on December 6,” said advocate Khambata.

Justice S J Vazifdar, who was hearing the case on Thursday, remarked: “The learned judge (Srikrishna) ought not to have recused.”

As the High Court is going to hear both Kings XI’s petition, as well as BCCI’s appeal against arbitrator’s stay in Rajasthan Royal’s case next week, Kings XI on Thursday said that BCCI should postpone the date by which IPL franchisees are to submit list of contracted ‘marquee players’.

As per the current schedule, teams are to conclude their contracts with four marquee players by December 6.

Marquee players are the ones who had been with the franchisee for the previous three years. Every team can retain four marquee players, including a maximum of three Indians.

After December 6, those players who have not been signed up by their existing team, can enter into contract with other franchisees.

Kings XI’s case is that since its franchisee contract is terminated, it is at a disadvantage while negotiating with players.

But BCCI lawyer advocate CA Sundaram said that the cricket body was not ready for this, though it was ready to postpone the next stage, when teams can start signing up remaining players, till December 10.

Justice Vazifdar said he would pass order on this tomorrow.