New Delhi: The working committee of the BCCI is learnt to have unanimously rejected Sahara Group`s primary demand of allowing their franchise Pune Warriors to field six foreign players for the next edition of Indian Premier League (IPL).
"The president apprised the Working Committee about Sahara`s demands -- one of the primary issue being allowed six foreign players for the next edition. The entire working committee was unanimous in its opinion that this demand is unacceptable and hence it was turned down," a senior BCCI official preferring anonymity said on Monday.
Elaborating on the issue, the official said, "The demand was certainly illogical as members felt that it would aggrieve the eight other franchises. The members felt that in order to meet one aggrieved party`s demand, you can`t irk eight other stakeholders in the BCCI property."
The other issue was BCCI returning a part of the bank guarantee after the number of matches was reduced from 94 to 74. The parent body also found the proposal "unacceptable."
However the other two demands were found to be "acceptable" by the members.
"Obviously, they are entitled to get Yuvraj Singh`s replacement and there was never any doubt about it. Even the president has made it clear.
"Secondly, they wanted to have a strategic partner and BCCI saw no reason why they can`t have one. But what the committee understood is that their demand of six foreign players is non-negotiable. The committee has also made its stand clear," the official further stated.
Miffed by the BCCI rejection of their demands, the Sahara Group accused the Board of leaking information about their meeting in Mumbai and sought to give their version of events.
"Shri N Srinivasan tried to explain the limitations from the perspective of framework of rules with respect to the issues raised by Sahara. He asked Shri Sundar Raman (IPL CEO) to explain the issues with a perspective of the rules," Sahara Group said in a statement.
"Shri Subrata Roy Sahara requested the BCCI officials not to elaborate on the rules by saying that any disagreement in sports should be taken in perfect sporting spirit and should be resolved accordingly.”
"He further requested the BCCI President & his team that there is no point in quoting the rule book and debating it word by word. After all, they were BCCI’s own rules and not some constitutional rules of the Govt of India," it added.
Sahara Group had pulled out of February 4 IPL auctions after differences with the BCCI primarily on the issue of seeking a replacement for Yuvraj Singh along with a number of other factors.
"The issue of players was discussed so as to ensure a level playing field. To ensure that, the need for an open Auction to be held in 2013 was also put forward," the Sahara Group said.
"Since there is no same level Indian player left who can match up to the level of Shri Yuvraj Singh, we should be allowed one extra overseas player in the playing XI. We should realise that even this is also not enough to compensate for the loss of somebody of Shri Yuvraj`s caliber.”
"Shri Subrata Roy also put across very firmly that if all teams are balanced, the tournament and all the matches will be very competitive and that viewers will enjoy the competition else the tournament will lose its charm. This is the precise reason why Sahara had insisted on an open auction last year after the induction of 2 new teams," the Sahara statement said.
Sahara also wants the bank guarantee it has given the BCCI back.
"The fact that none of the earlier 8 teams who entered IPL in 2008, deposit any Bank Guarantee against Franchise Fee. Out of the remaining 9 teams in the League, only Sahara is required to deposit the Bank Guarantee against the Franchise Fee. Considering that Sahara has never defaulted in last 12 years in any payment that was due to BCCI, this is out and out discriminatory in nature," the company said.
"Accordingly, if issues related to IPL are solved, then we could also discuss the sponsorship of the Indian cricket Team though it was also put forward that we have to balance our announced Sports and Social Development programs by partly diverting finances committed from Cricket into Social Activities."
Sahara said it was trying to find new sponsors for the Indian team after pulling out itself but "were very surprised to note that though they were interested in the opportunity, yet were not willing to pay more than 50-60 per cent of the current value."