BCCI scraps IPL media rights deal with WSG

Mumbai: The Cricket Board has scrapped all its IPL media rights agreements with Mauritius-based World Sport Group, claiming that MSM Satellite (Singapore) Pvt Ltd was the rightful owner of all media rights relating to the Twenty20 event.

The BCCI has invalidated all its deals with WSG following revelations that the latter received USD 80 million (Rs 425 crore) as “facilitation fee” from MSM for getting back the Indian sub-continent media rights of IPL in March 2009, according to Board sources.

The deals with WSG were scrapped by BCCI after MSM had last week agreed to pay it Rs 300 crore plus the remaining amount of Rs 125 crore, which it has already paid to WSG, after initiating legal action against the Mauritius firm.

None of the BCCI’s top brass was available for comment as they were currently attending the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) annual conference in Singapore.

None from WSG’s Mumbai office was also available for reacting to BCCI’s move of terminating all the deals with it.

Last week the BCCI’s Governing Council meeting approved an amended Media Rights Agreement with MSM, which had agreed to pay Rs 425 crore “facilitation fee” to WSG on March 25, but the Board later contended that the money rightfully belonged to it.

“On becoming aware of this (payment of Rs 425 crore as facilitation fee by MSM to WSG), BCCI contended that this money belonged to the Board and should have been part of the Rights fee,” BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan said in a media release after the IPL’s Governing Council meeting.

“BCCI had informed MSM Satellite (Singapore) Pvt Ltd that this was an improper payment. MSM Satellite agreed to pay the said amount to BCCI as part of the Rights Fees,” he said.

MSM, on its part, had also issued a statement saying it had dragged WSG to the Bombay High Court to get back Rs 125 crore it had already paid as part of the “facilitation fee”.

“The BCCI has disclosed certain facts, hitherto not known to MSMS, that confirm that the broadcast rights were exclusively with it (the BCCI) immediately prior to and at the time of the grant of the rights by BCCI to MSMS. As such, the BCCI also stated that all monies expended by MSMS for the MRLA (including the facilitation fee) should be paid to the BCCI.

“In light of these new facts MSMS has cancelled all future payment demands that WSG may make ? MSMS was due to pay the balance of Rs 300 crore in eight installments spread over the next 17 years of the contract - and has initiated legal action in India with a view to claiming back the payments (of Rs 125 crore) made so far.

A suit for recovery of monies already paid to WSG and for suitable declarations has been filed in the Honourable High Court of Bombay,” MSM said, adding it was interested in maintaining a good relationship with BCCI.



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