Suspense over Kochi’s fate likely to end on Sunday

Mumbai: Suspense over the fate of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchisee, Kochi, will finally end as the Governing Council meets here on Sunday to take a decision on the issue amidst legal hurdles being faced by the BCCI.

“A final decision on the Kochi franchisee will be taken tomorrow,” a senior Governing Council member said.

The Governing Council had last week deferred its decision on the franchisee for the third time last week in Nagpur, after the investors reached a last-minute shareholding agreement.

Barely seven months after becoming the second most costliest team in the IPL, Kochi was on the verge of being thrown out of the event due to the shareholding dispute between the consortium’s investors.

The investors – Anchor Earth, Parinee Developers, Rosy Blue and Film Wave – hold 74 per cent of the equity.

The remaining 26 per cent lies with the Gaikwad family – Shailendra, his brother Ravi and their parents all part of Rendezvous Sports World – as free equity for services rendered while bidding.

It is this 26 per cent, which became a bone of contention among the stakeholders, as the investors were in no mood to give free equity to the Gaikwad family.

The Gaikwads, on their part, initially refused to part with the equity but have now agreed to forego at least 15 per cent of it after the investors-group threatened to withdraw from the IPL, threatening the very existence of the franchisee, which was bought for a staggering sum of Rs 1533.33 crore, a franchisee source said.

“The result of reports that the (Kochi) investors had written to the BCCI informing them of their intention to withdraw from the IPL was that the Gaikwads, who once held nearly 26 per cent equity in the franchisee, now hold only about 10 per cent,” the source said.

The Governing Council meeting is being held in the backdrop of the the legal developments involving the BCCI and defunct IPL franchisees - Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals, the IPL Governing Council.

According to the GC member, the Governing Council will also be apprised of all the developments in the case.

The Cricket Board had earlier this week moved the Bombay High Court against the arbitrator’s stay to the termination of contract with IPL franchisee Rajasthan Royals by it.

Justice B N Srikrishna, who was appointed as arbitrator with the consent of both the parties on November 30, stayed the termination saying that prima facie was ‘illegal’.

In the case of Kings XI, Justice Srikrishna recused himself from the proceedings as the BCCI expressed reservations after he disclosed that he had once represented (as a lawyer) Bombay Dyeing, whose owner Ness Wadia has a stake in Kings XI.

Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court had on Friday extended the deadline for the IPL franchisees to sign up their respective “marquee” players till December 8.

BCCI had, on October 10, expelled Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals for allegedly violating contractual agreements and gave a termination notice of 30 days to the franchise to sort out internal disputes regarding the shareholding pattern. Kings XI and Rajasthan have since dragged BCCI to court over their expulsion.

The BCCI has made it clear that eight teams will take part in the fourth edition of the league scheduled from April 8, just six days after the World Cup.


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