Mumbai: The Governing Council of the popular but troubled Indian Premier League will meet today to discuss the repercussions of the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, and also to chalk out a new roadmap for the T20 event.
The IPL GC, headed by politician Rajeev Shukla, is expected to delve deep into the finer points of the strong judgment issued a few days ago by three-member Supreme Court-appointed panel headed by former Chief Justice of India, R M Lodha.
Star-studded Chennai Super Kings, two-time IPL champions, and inaugural edition winners Rajasthan Royals were suspended from the T20 League for two years as punishment for betting activities of their key officials Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra during the 2013 season.
Meiyappan, the former Team Principal of CSK, and Kundra, co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals, were suspended for life for indulging in betting and bringing the IPL and the game into disrepute.
Justice Lodha Committee was constituted by the Supreme Court in January this year with its terms of reference being to announce the quantum of punishment against Meiyappan, Kundra and the two franchisees -- India Cements Ltd, owner of CSK and Jaipur IPL, owners of Rajasthan Royals.
The IPL governing body urgently needs to chart out a smooth road map for the cash-rich but controversy-ridden T20 League, owned by the Cricket Board (BCCI), that has teetered on the edge for quite some time.
IPL GC has to negotiate a very tricky and rock-strewn path full of legal hurdles such as conflict of interest issues, which had brought it to its knees in the first place.
It has quite a few options in front of it to resurrect the falling reputation and credibility of the league which has taken one hit after another over the years since it started with a bang in 2008.
Putting on a brave face Shukla had commented after the judgment that the controversy-ridden IPL remained a "robust" product, insisting that the event will come back stronger with a minimum of eight teams.
"We are always concerned about IPL and let me assure you the next edition will be a bigger success. IPL is a robust product and this judgement (suspension of teams) should not affect IPL as a product. The idea is to have the tournament in full format with a minimum of eight teams. We can't hold the event with six teams," Shukla had said.
According to Shukla one of the options available for the IPL is to run the two suspended teams with BCCI control.
"There are many options available and we will discuss them all in the meeting on Sunday. One option is that BCCI runs the two teams and responsible people will be deputed for the job," he had said ahead of the meeting.
However, views have already been expressed in some quarters that if this is the road the BCCI takes then conflict of interest issues could crop up again.
"We will deliberate on their (Lodha Committee) report in the meeting. After that, a sub-group will be constituted and it will study the report. Based on that, we will decide how the report will be implemented," Shukla had added.
Justice Lodha had also said a day after delivering the judgment that the BCCI was free to terminate the IPL franchises.
Lodha's clarification came in the wake of some confusion over the committee's proposal, specifically over the extent to which the BCCI can act against the two franchises as follow-up to the committee's decision.
"It is for the BCCI to consider terminating the teams and the Supreme Court judgment is clear on that. The BCCI can do that," Justice Lodha had told a TV channel.
Asked why the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha committee itself didn't ban the franchise, Justice Lodha said: "We have been appointed as a disciplinary committee and (Clause) 11.3 deals with contractual obligation and that has to be dealt by BCCI, so we can't go into it."
Clause 11.3 (c) of the BCCI-IPL franchise agreement says the agreement can be terminated if "the Franchise, any Franchise Group Company and/or any owner acts in any way which has a material adverse effect upon the reputation or standing of the League, BCCI-IPL, BCCI, the Franchise, the team (or any other team in the League) and/or the game of cricket."