Mumbai: In a relief for Kings XI Punjab, Bombay High Court on Wednesday stayed the termination of the IPL franchise’s agreement by the Cricket Board.
Justice SJ Vazifdar remarked that going by the documents, Kings XI had “made out a strong case”.
The dispute will now again go before a new arbitrator - earlier arbitrator Justice B N Srikrishna having recused himself - but as of now Kings XI will be able to participate in the players auction in January.
Kings XI will have to, however, furnish bank guarantees for making up the losses that BCCI, as well as the its own players might suffer in case the arbitrator’s award goes against Kings XI.
The judge also said that Kings XI will have to clear the dues of players for the previous IPL season. “It is a question of national prestige,” he said.
Interestingly, Justice Srikrishna, who was arbitrator in dispute between BCCI and Rajasthan Royals, too had observed that prima facie termination of Royals’ agreement was illegal.
The court also recorded a statement made by Kings XI’s lawyer Darius Khambata that present share-holding pattern of owners - which includes actor Preity Zinta and industrialist Ness Wadia - will not change, and shares will not be sold without court’s or arbitrator’s permission.
BCCI’s defence for terminating the agreement is that Kings XI’s ownership pattern changed, without cricket body’s consent, which was breach of a vital term in the agreement.
Court directed Kings XI to furnish bank guarantee of USD 18 million for the players which it might pick up in the auction, and of USD 3.5 million for BCCI within one month.
BCCI wanted this guarantee, as it fears potential loss of revenue by not conducting a new auction to replace Kings XI as franchisee.
Kings XI also wanted extension of on Wednesday’s deadline for signing up the marquee players, but court refused to entertain the plea.