HC asks WSG, BCCI to settle dispute over telecast rights

Last Updated: Jan 18, 2011, 23:12 PM IST

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday suggested Mauritius-based World Sports Group (WSG) and BCCI to settle their dispute amicably in regard to termination of their agreement on overseas telecast rights of IPL matches.

The suggestion was made by a division bench which heard an appeal filed by WSG against a single bench`s order dismissing its plea against BCCI`s decision to terminate the contract between them.

BCCI was represented by senior lawyer Rafiq Dada, while WSG`s appeal was argued by Aspi Chinoy.

Sony Entertainment Television (SET), owned by Multi Screen Media (MSM) Satellite, had also entered into an agreement with the Cricket Board for telecast rights in India of IPL matches for the period 2009 to 2017, Chinoy argued.

Accordingly, they had agreed to pay WSG Rs 450 crore as facilitation fee (consideration) to enable it to relinquish their telecast rights for India. Unless WSG relinquished these rights, SET could not have entered into direct agreement with Cricket Board over telecast of rights.

A division bench of Justices P B Majumdar and A A Sayed suggested both sides to consider if this money (Rs 450 crore), which has become the bone of contention, could be paid to BCCI. In lieu of this, the agreement between WSG and BCCI for telecast of overseas rights would continue while SET would have to be content with telecast of rights in India.

Of this amount, Rs 150 crore has already been paid by SET to WSG and the rest is still pending, Chinoy submitted.

Both sides would inform the court tomorrow whether this is acceptable to them and if they do not agree to the suggestion, the arguments on WSG`s appeal would continue.

The court had yesterday extended the stay on inviting tenders for telecast rights of IPL by BCCI till further orders.

WSG`s lawyer Aspi Chinoy today argued that BCCI had terminated the contract between them on the ground that WSG had misrepresented to SET by not disclosing another agreement dated March 23, 2008 between them and hence committed a fraud on SET. BCCI also argued that the facilitation fee, which had been paid to WSG, should have gone to them and not to WSG.

Interestingly, Chinoy argued, SET had in April 2009 came out with a press release clarifying that no fraud had been committed on them. If that was so then how could BCCI claim that a fraud had been committed on SET.

There was in fact no agreement dated March 23, 2008, between the two sides and this date had been wrongly mentioned as a typographical error instead of March 15, 2008. There was only one agreement dated March 15, 2008 between WSG and BCCI, he submitted.

PTI

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