Manohar roped in for fresh discussions between BCCI and Sahara

Mumbai: The bigwigs of the BCCI and Sahara Group today started another round of discussions in a desperate bid to break the stalemate over the participation of Pune Warriors in the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League.

A day after the BCCI`s Working Committee rejected some of the demands of Sahara, both the parties held parleys in a city hotel here to try and find a solution to the contentious issues.

In a notable development, former Board President Shashank Manohar was also included in the parleys. Board president N Srinivasan was present at the meeting.

Manohar was the president of BCCI when Sahara Group bought the Pune Franchise for whopping Rs 1700 crore, the costliest franchise in the IPL.

The former BCCI president is well respected in the Indian cricket fraternity for his expertise in crisis management.

Interestingly, it was Manohar who was able to successfully convince the two new franchises (Kochi Tuskers and Pune) before last year`s auctions when they had reservations about the `Player Retention` policy.

According to reliable sources, Sahara`s demand for a reduction of franchise fee, bank guarantee and inclusion of extra foreign player in the team were the main topics of discussions.

Sahara, sponsor of the Indian team for over 11 years, decided to part ways with the BCCI on February 4, complaining that the Board did not give due consideration to its genuine grievances with regards to players and number of matches in the IPL. The decision to severe all ties with BCCI was taken just hours before the IPL auction got underway in Bangalore.

The BCCI's Working Committee had met in Chennai on Tuesday but had failed to resolve the standoff.

The Board's Working Committee rejected some demands of the long-time sponsor and refused to make "exceptions" for the company which will now have to decide its future in the IPL.

After over three hours of deliberation at its Working Committee meeting, the BCCI said it had communicated its decisions with regards to Sahara's demands to the company and was hoping for a "favourable response".

The BCCI had also made it clear that while it could show some flexibility but it should not be expected to make exceptions for the corporate giant, which owns the costliest IPL team.

"Issues that had to be decided were placed before the committee and we have conveyed the response from the working committee to Sahara and we hope the response would be favourable," BCCI President N Srinivasan had told reporters after the meeting.

Sahara had signed a renewed sponsorship agreement with the BCCI on July 1, 2010 till December 31, 2013 and was paying Rs. 3.34 crore per Test match, one-day international and Twenty20 International under the new terms. The deal is said to be worth Rs. 532 crore.

The BCCI stands to lose close to Rs 2000 crore if no solution is found. However, the Board can find another sponsor to neutralise the losses.


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